Graffiti Tracker: Technology vs. The Streets

graffiti caughtGraffiti Tracker is a new technology used by public officials and law enforcement to track, apprehend and punish vandals in your community. This web-based program utilizes digital photographs, GPS navigation, and a team of experts to keep criminals off the streets. Just check out these testimonials from satisfied customers on graffititracker.net:

“In addition to having a dramatic impact on graffiti, it will have an impact on tracking gangs. I’m excited about it.”
– Los Angeles County Supervisor, Don Knabe

“…he basically threw up on himself and gave himself up!”
– Carson City Police Officer

How does it work? Your local law enforcement can bring Graffiti Tracker into your “hood” for the low price of $18,000. Graffiti Tracker Incorporated will provide: the Tracking System, Graffiti Consulting, Strategy Development, Customized Graffiti Analysis and Graffiti Research. Before you know it, the hoodlums will be off the block and in handcuffs!

“Graffiti Tracker is able to do just what its name suggests – track the perpetrators of these anti-social acts.”
-BBC News

“In the few months they have been testing this, they have actually had over 100 sting operations and more than 40 arrests!”
-Fox News

Blackademic Response:
graffiti greenGraffiti is one of the four elements of Hip-Hop culture that has been a staple in communities of color since the early 1970s. Historically, graffiti artists have been conscious activists, using the walls, streets, trains and billboards of their communities as canvas for political statements. Today, graffiti maintains its political edge as an internationally recognized form of high art, with exhibits in mainstream museums and art galleries from Brooklyn to Bangkok. However, with roots in urban Black communities, graffiti is still criminalized in some circles. Graffiti Tracker for example, has made a business out of branding graffiti artists as anti-social gang members. While there is some legitimacy to their crusade against vandalism, the outright condemnation of graffiti as an art form is outrageous. If public officials really wanted reduce vandalism, they might want to try re-introducing arts into the schools, or implementing after-school programming for the benefit of the children who don’t have venues to voice their creative expression. “Cracking down” on tagging and graffiti will only cause the young people re-emerge artistically in other forms. Graffiti Tracker is only placing a band-aid on a larger systematic problem. Furthermore, GT seems like the newest weapon in the arsenal of law enforcement officials, aimed at people of color. Their tag line, “Graffiti Tracker: Every Wall Has a Story” is laughably misleading, as their corporation only seeks to silence the voices and stories of people of color who don’t other viable outlets for creative expression.

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Published on September 1, 2007 at 12:59 pm. 13 Comments.
Filed under art,black culture,technology.