Property owners in San Francisco’s neighborhood commercial districts will soon be able to request graffiti removal free of cost.

Under a two-year pilot graffiti abatement program recently announced by Mayor London Breed, San Francisco Public Works will send out city crews and contractors to remove tags off of storefronts and private properties.

Breed allocated $4 million to the program in the city’s budget adopted this summer, in an effort to lessen the financial burden small business owners can face when trying to remove tags themselves.

“This program is a win for small businesses and property owners facing the expense of removing unwanted graffiti that create an unwelcoming environment,” Breed said. “As San Francisco continues our recovery efforts, it’s critical that we stay focused on keeping our city safe and clean, while also continuing to support our small businesses to ensure they thrive. This graffiti abatement program is just one part of that effort but it will really help our neighborhoods and our City.”

“This program is a win for small businesses and property owners facing the expense of removing unwanted graffiti that create an unwelcoming environment.”

Mayor London Breed

The program is also hiring six more staff people to work alongside the Public Works crews dedicated to solely removing graffiti on public property like sign posts and retaining walls.

According to city law, private property owners must remove graffiti or face hefty fines. If property owners do not remove graffiti within 30 days, they can be charged a $362 inspection fee; and if it persists 15 days after that, they can face an additional $400 labor and supplies fee and $1,000 a day in penalties.

Since July 1, Public Works said it has issued 900 violation notices to property owners.

“We do not want to penalize people, but we do want to make sure graffiti is removed quickly because we know from experience that tags attract more tags and degrade the look and feel of our neighborhoods,” said interim Public Works Director Carla Short. “We welcome this opt-in graffiti abatement program, which gives us additional resources so our crews also can tackle tags on private property in our commercial areas and offer some relief for small businesses still recovering from the pandemic.”

The city plans to prioritize businesses that are visible to the public.

Property owners interested in the program can request more information by calling 3-1-1.