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May 1, 2013 — A new “Chief’s Message” video posted online today features a conversation between Chief Chris Burbank and Graffiti Removal Supervisor Brent Ahlander about the lingering effects of graffiti.

According to Ahlander, Salt Lake City spends nearly $400,000 a year providing graffiti removal services free to residents and businesses. That figure, Chief Burbank notes, does not reflect what it costs for officers to respond to new incidents or to investigate the more prolific taggers in town.

“One of the more important things I think people need to realize is that when graffiti goes up on the side of building or on a wall, what happens if we don’t clean it up,” Burbank asked Ahlander. “Well, I think it attracts more graffiti, and makes them (taggers) feel like they can get away with it.”

In the video, Burbank talks about the different types of graffiti, from taggers leaving their stylized moniker or gang members marking their territory, to street art that a property owner commissions or allows. While Burbank says the latter adds to a vibrant city-scape, the former “does nothing but invite more criminal activity or tear down a neighborhood.”

Ahlander said his graffiti removal crews are always busy and work eight hours a day, five days a week, to keep up with demand. To keep them rolling, donations of latex paint are gratefully accepted.

To learn more about graffiti in Salt Lake City and what you can do to help, please visit:

About the “Chief’s Message”

Chief Burbank issues a monthly video message to help the public reduce its exposure to, or mitigate the effects of, crime. All “Chief’s Messages” are archived on the newsroom page of and the “Chief’s Message” playlist of


Contact: Reporters seeking comment should contact the Public Information Officer at 801.799.NEWS (6397).