Sofia municipality to use video surveillance as an anti-graffiti measure

Summer is gone, autumn is here, but the weather is still clement enough for taking walks around the city. If we do that, there is one thing that cannot possibly escape our attention – the words and the comic-book characters splashed all over the walls of houses by an anonymous hand, comfortably hidden behind a pseudonym.

СнимкаGraffiti art came into being in New York in the 1980s as a form of street art, of rebellion against the system of rules and certain policies. From the very outset, graffiti artists have been prosecuted, as, by and large, the public considers what they are doing to be vandalism. Scribbling on walls is a blemish, a blot on their original appearance. There is some graffiti, however, that is an exception and is even considered to be a work of art. The well-drawn graffiti is eye-catching, even to people who loathe this art form. Many European cities have space designated specifically for graffiti artists to use, provided they confine themselves to it. Any attempt to draw their graffiti in any other parts of the city entails hefty fines.

So, the question springs to mind: why is it that there are no such spaces in every Bulgarian town and why aren’t all other scribbles and scrawls – removed? The steps Sofia municipality is taking in this direction is no solution to the problem, as they only address the consequences. Because of the growing number of complaints by the public, city council is planning to install CCTV surveillance systems to stop the culprits. The fines will range from 100 to 2,500 Leva and will be applied even people aged under 16, as they too are subject to criminal liability, as long as they comprehend what they have done. But the battle against graffiti is not the only one Sofia municipality is launching – it is also taking up arms against advertisement and notice hoarding all over the city. The reason – the insufficient number of advertisement columns.

Adapted by Yoan Kolev from

English version: Milena Daynova

Photos: BGNES
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