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  • Success Story
  • Escondido, CA

How Escondido, CA Eliminated Graffiti with Innovative Technology

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The city of Escondido, CA, located 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, faced a staggering surge in graffiti between 2018 and 2019. The city wanted to reclaim its beautiful city in the fight against graffiti, and so, turned to technology for the answer. By implementing a customizable mobile app where residents could report graffiti, the city took control of the situation. The results led to dramatic graffiti eradication, increased community pride and economic development, which led to numerous prestigious awards for community service.

“Gangs and tagging crews are no longer creating large tags in the community because the response time to remove the tags is so quick. Two years ago, a public works employee averaged 10 work orders a day. Today, we average 25-30 work orders a day. Having the entire graffiti eradication program go paperless has created incredible efficiencies.”
Joseph Goulart, Public Works Director, City of Escondido, CA

Project Metrics

  • 36,424 tags removed
  • 10,438  work orders completed in 2019
  • < 24 hours the average response time for new graffiti tags
Must have Granicus Solutions

Removing Graffiti to Reclaim the City

Cities across the United States have waged a battle against graffiti vandalism for years with no end in sight. Graffiti is costly, destructive, and negatively impacts the appearance of the community — often indicating criminal street gang activity in the area. The city of Escondido faced a similar issue with city crews working to eradicate over 72,000 tags in 2018 and 2019 alone. The city knew that to take back its precious community from gangs and tagging crews, it had to implement a community-service technology approach that engaged with residents readily.


Using Technology to Combat Graffiti

The city of Escondido established the Graffiti Eradication Program using a brandable mobile app with service request management capabilities. Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store branded as “Report It!”, the free and intuitive app allows residents and businesses to report graffiti with a few clicks. The app also can indicate precise locations and even add pictures. After an issue is submitted within the “Report It!” app, a work order is automatically generated within the public works department’s software, Cityworks, which was integrated with Granicus software. With the Cityworks mobile app, crew members receive work orders directly on their mobile devices, instead of being required to come into the office for assignments like they did previously. like they did previously.

“govService OneView gives us the flexibility to dispatch whoever is closest to the graffiti tag or the person who has the right color of paint to cover it or the right tools to do a larger job. The data also allows us to run reports to better plan for staffing needs and accurately budget for materials.”
Jake Nyberg, Deputy Director of Public Works, City of Escondido, CA

Forming Data-Driven Decisions

Now, the city can identify hotspots with the CRM (constituent relationship manager). City employees can take the collected data to create heatmaps and dashboards to identify trends and target problem areas. These sorts of insights help protect and future-proof an organization by allowing better allocation of city resources.

Quote: “I firmly believe you can’t manage what you don’t measure. The data and reporting we get through the program provide predictive analytics that go far beyond traditional cost-capturing metrics. It also helps us understand trends and characteristics of tagging crews.” — Jake Nyberg, Deputy Director of Public Works


An Award-Winning Program Servicing the Community

Using technology and cross-departmental collaboration between public works, information systems, and communications, as well as robust community engagement, the city has lowered response times to cover graffiti tags from days to hours, if not minutes. Escondido’s graffiti eradication effort has been tremendously successful and has directly inspired community pride and economic development while also garnering the city a series of prestigious awards.

  • ESRI SAG Award: Escondido received the Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award from ESRI, the global leader in location intelligence and the “builder” of ArcGIS, the world’s most powerful mapping and spatial analytics software. The city was selected from over 300,000 eligible candidates for its Graffiti Eradication Program’s innovative application of mapping and analytics technology.
  • Helen Putnam Award for Excellence: The city of Escondido was recognized by the League of California Cities in the category of public works, infrastructure, and transportation for its unique contributions to community residents and businesses, resulting in lower costs and more effective service delivery.
  • Cityworks Excellence in Enterprise Practice Award: Escondido won the Cityworks Excellence in Enterprise Practice Award for having transformed operations and internal management by adopting the Cityworks platform and using it in nearly every department, from public works to utilities.
“Two years ago, a public works employee averaged 10 work orders a day. Today, we average 25-30 work orders a day. Having the entire graffiti eradication program go paperless has created incredible efficiencies, as now we don’t have to use outdated, manual processes for assigning work orders.”
Joseph Goulart, Public Works Director, City of Escondido, CA