Anti Graffiti Film for Windows In October 2009, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers officials descended into the concrete canal depths of the Los Angeles River. They saturated enormous paint rollers in cans of matte gray paint and set to work erasing one of the largest “bombs” to ever deface the City of Angels. The MTA is behind what was claimed to be the largest tag ever (pictured) — its logo painted on a concrete bank of the L.A. River. Months earlier, a graffiti gang called the Metro Train Assassins (MTA) had used approximately 400 gallons of paint to create a 30-foot tall, one-half-mile wide tag that ran along the sloped canal walls of the Los Angeles River. City officials estimated that the removal of the tag cost $3.7 million due to an impromptu dam that had to be constructed to prevent toxic water contamination. Eleven alleged members of the MTA crew were arrested and charged for almost $5 million in penalties and damages. Eight agreed to the plea conditions: an adult curfew, no possession of graffiti tools, and 100 hours of community service. Such was one of the many stories that force the city of LA to shell out up to $7 million a year in removal, surveillance and incarceration to fight graffiti vandalism. Nationwide anti-grafitti costs are approximately $12 billion annually. Graffiti Technique Goes High-Tech Graffiti is known by its myth: the misunderstood teenage artist who unleashes his creativity on the streets because his apartment complex is too small and his school too poor. Yet most graffiti is not street art, but urban litter, a crude signature screaming for attention. Graffiti has become increasingly high-tech. Members of MTA, for instance, were found to possess modified fire extinguisher canisters filled with paint, which allowed them to spray the undersides of freeway overpasses. No longer content with dilapidated brick alley walls, graffiti vandals are turning towards more visible targets: glass storefronts, real estate signs, subway cars, and even trees. Narcissism runs deep in graffiti, and the average vandal will choose the best “canvas” to amplify his name – and make sure it stays. Artists may use aerosol spray paint, acid, or permanent markers. Glass walls and windows are prime targets: visible and permanent. Vandals may etch with razor blades or stencil with heavy-duty industrial acid agents. Graffiti damage alone has resulted in a cleanup cost of about $12 billion per year in the United States. While some businesses are more prone than others, just one spray of paint is next to impossible to remove. Windows and doors that are protected with anti-graffiti window film can easily be repaired by professionals. The film is simply removed and replaced. The Environmental and Professional Side Effects of Graffiti Vandalism While a professional street artist can resurrect a dilapidated building, most acts of graffiti are quick snipes, just black chicken scratches on exterior storefronts and road signs. But the unsightly appearance is only one of graffiti’s ill side effects. • Gang-related graffiti castrates the authority of local law enforcement and supports a vicious cycle of lawlessness. • According to the National Association of Realtors, residential property in a graffiti-afflicted neighborhood loses 15 percent of its value. • Aerosol paint releases VOCs into the atmosphere and leaches toxins into water sources. • Heavy-duty antigraffiti chemicals may cause fatigue, headaches and upper respiratory issues in laborers. • Metropolitan trains soiled by graffiti report decreased traffic and sales. The Solution: A Sacrificial Surface Anti-Graffiti window film is a removable clear layer of film that can be removed if damaged. The cost of removing and replacing anti-graffiti window film is far less than replacing the glass itself which is why so many Los Angeles business owners choose to use anti-graffiti window film on their business’s windows. How can a Los Angeles business owner protect his or her business from urban vandalism? In ages past, most businesses opted for deterrents: state-of-the-art surveillance systems, ruthless no-trespassing signs, etc. Today’s expensive vandalism calls for a more sophisticated approach: prevention. The solution is simple. If a vandal attacks with a sword, respond with a shield: an anti-graffiti window film. A window film is a thin layer of polyester, metallic or ceramic material, usually 4-7 millimeters thick, applied to the exterior of a glass pane. The film is transparent, nearly invisible, and can be quickly installed by qualified professionals with a special adhesive. Most are available with a variety of colors and shades of window tint. If damaged, the film can be easily peeled off and replaced. Films can be applied to straight, sloped or even curved surfaces. Thin ones can handle paint damage, while some heavy-duty films can even prevent key damage! Although originally developed for glass windows, the antigraffiti films can even be applied to mirrors and stainless steel. They are cleaned the same as regular glass panes or stainless steel sheets. Most films are available with a window tint. Others are dye-free. Savvy business owners instantly see the appeal of an antigraffiti film. It can be replaced at a fraction of the cost and time of a new glass window. Repugnant tags can be removed within hours, and the cost of a single glass pane can pay for 10-20 window films! But cost savings of Anti-Graffiti window film are only the tip of the iceberg. Extra Safety, Security and Aesthetic Benefits to Anti-Graffiti Window Films Future Security: The sooner a business removes graffiti, the less chance there is of a repeat attack. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, removing a tag within two days drastically reduces the likelihood of a second attempt. The vandal realizes his name will not remain in the spotlight, and so he hunts for a weaker prey. Trespass Protection: Most films are securely bonded to the underlying glass. If the glass shatters as a result of a blow or bullet, the film will hold the shards together. This is not only an extra consumer safety feature, but it also helps to halt trespassers and to prevent smash-n-grab robberies. Ultraviolet Light Reduction: High-quality anti-graffiti films can prevent ultraviolet light damage. Consider the award-winning nano-ceramic films from Huper Optik, for instance. Huper Optik’s patented technology incorporates tiny ceramic particles in the center of the film. The ceramic particles maintain a crisp image and reject 99 percent of UV rays. Plus, thanks to their lack of metal and dyes, they are fade-free. Other films also reduce interior glare and exterior reflectivity. Air Cooling Savings: Thicker films reflect radiant heat, which helps to keep buildings cool in summer. Skyscrapers and office buildings, which are prime candidates for heat gain due to the surrounding ocean of asphalt, can see efficiency improvements of 60 percent or more. Too often, businesses wait until it’s too late, until their stainless steel doors and glass windows are covered in gray Sharpie marks and the taggers have left nothing but their signatures. An anti-graffiti film is an inexpensive solution to street vandals and night-time thieves. In Los Angeles, the graffiti capital of the nation, can any business owner justify otherwise?