Prague district to fight back against widespread graffiti

Photo: Czech Television

As many visitors are no doubt aware, much of the Czech capital has been blighted by graffiti over the last two decades. Now one Prague district has announced a fresh approach to tackling the widespread defacement of buildings. But how will the new anti-graffiti drive work in practice?

Photo: Czech Television
Visitors to Prague frequently comment on the huge amount of graffiti to be found pretty much everywhere outside the historic city centre. Indeed many buildings are magnificent from the ground floor up while at street resembling something from the Bronx in the 1980s.

One particularly graffiti-hit part of the Czech capital is Prague 3, which contains the grungy Žižkov district. And officials there are now saying it’s time to take action.

The Prague 3 town hall has just announced a scheme under which its workers will remove graffiti from buildings that have signed up “without delay”, in practice within 48 hours.

Vladislava Hujová is the area’s mayor.

“The local authority will pay. We want to get both city-owned and privately-owned buildings involved. One problem is that we will need to address the owners of around 4,000 buildings and invite them to take part. They will then sign contracts with us; this will help to keep us informed about when a particular building has been sprayed on – and we will be able to take action.”

Prague 3 officials say the contract-based scheme is intended to replace a previous one under which funding was set aside to repair graffiti but few housing associations actually applied for it.

Mayor Hujová says she is confident that the new plan – due to be launched in the autumn – can considerably reduce the amount of graffiti in her part of the city.

Vladislava Hujová,  photo: archive of Prague 3 Municipality
“I think it will work, going by the experiences of other municipalities and cities and towns. It seems that if a town hall decides on this solution – that graffiti is removed without delay – it reduces the motivation of those who do graffiti. Because their work isn’t so visible. And their paints are just too expensive if the graffiti is removed the following day.”

The Prague 3 town hall has also created designated spots where legal graffiti is allowed and even encouraged, the local official says.

Meanwhile, the police also seem to be taking greater action against graffiti. Czech Television reported that officers in Prague had arrested nearly as many sprayers in the first four months of this year as in the whole of 2015.