Councilmember Sue Lovell recently announced the City of Houston’s new graffiti website, complete with surprisingly detailed fast facts.
For example, did you know the average age of the arrested graffiti vandal is 17 to 18, with an overall broad range of 8 to 54? (How an average can be two numbers, we’re not quite sure, and what’s up with arresting an 8-year-old? Talk about zero tolerance.)
The site also says suburban males commit approximately 50 percent of graffiti vandalism, which sounds right in line with most of the graff kids we know. It also makes a distinction between a tag, a throw-up and a piece, which is downright anthropological, even if it’s not clear why the information is included – if anything, it humanizes the dreaded vandals. But hey, open government is awesome, so we’ll take it.
When the site first went live, it encouraged concerned citizens to call 911 if they saw someone bombing. “We always thought 911 was reserved for life-threatening situations — you know, felonies, not misdemeanors,” wrote Craig Malisow in Hair Balls. He called the cops to check and the site has since been changed to read 311, not 911.
One number. Big difference.