Graffiti Removal

Report Graffiti

Anyone can report graffiti. Reports of graffiti can be made by Email, calling the Facilities Division at (515) 248-6331, online, or using the mobile app, mydsmmobile (available for Apple and Android phones). When reporting graffiti there are requirements for information needed to make the removal process easier and quicker. An exact street address, cross street, and/or landmark are required. A Liability Release signed by and returned by private property owners is a requirement prior to removal. If reporting graffiti on private property that is not yours, please understand this will be a necessary part of the process. A photo is extremely helpful when submitting graffiti information. Photos aid in the removal process in both time, resources and expense.

Facts About the Graffiti Programs in Des Moines
The intent of the City of Des Moines Graffiti Program is to remove or cover graffiti that appears in our neighborhoods, City property including the City Parks system, and upon permission of property owner, on private property. Graffiti includes undesirable message, scribbles and symbols not authorized by city-issued license or private property owner. The unattractive results can require much work and expense to remove.

Private property includes places of business, houses, garages, fences and other buildings. Public property includes bridges, overpasses and underpasses, freeway walls on the non-DOT side, utility boxes and poles, trees, sidewalks, park property etc. Schools, the DOT, railroads, Mid-American,  DART Bus System, and private garbage removal businesses address graffiti issues on their property. Graffiti removals only are removed on stationary locations. Construction trailers, temporary construction barricades, trash dumpsters, vehicles, and working construction sites, for example, are excluded unless some specified situation that calls for removal.   Removals are exterior only - removals are not done inside private property structures. 

Not all areas for graffiti are accessible to the Graffiti Removal Team  for removal.  Removals over water, as well as buildings involving heights and other unsafe locations are reviewed and documented but are not always removed due to safety regulations and restrictions.  Graffiti removals are performed as weather and temperatures allow, typically slowing in the winter months.

The City’s graffiti program is administered by the Facilities Division, which coordinates the removal or coverage of graffiti and shares information with the Des Moines Police Department which tracks the locations and messages to monitor for possible gang activity. Although police patrols and other neighborhood organizations report graffiti sightings, the Facilities Division relies on the eyes of the public to help eliminate graffiti.

The Graffiti Program is only for locations within the city limits of Des Moines.

Helpful Information To Know For Reporting Graffiti

  • When reporting graffiti, provide as much detailed information as possible.
  • Include EXACT address of private property, name of park, building, intersection, and/or nearby landmarks.
  • Photos are an excellent tool for reporting graffiti.  Photos can be emailed or uploaded by the mobile ap or web page.
  • Please provide your name and contact information for more details regarding graffiti.  However, reports can remain anonymous.
  • Reporting Graffiti to the Graffiti Program is not a police report.
  • Please contact the Graffiti Hotline (515-248-6331)  or Email with questions regarding reporting graffiti or the graffiti program.

Private Property Removals

  • Private property owner MUST sign liability release prior to removal.  No removals will be completed unless the release is received from owner.
  • Only the effected area will be covered.
  • A power washer, sandblaster or chemical solvents may be used.
  • The paint used will not be matched in color.  Private property owner can provide matching paint if desired.
  • There is no cost to the private property owner for the removal or coverage.