Should I be worried about this graffiti in front of my house?
November 28, 2010 2:30 PM   Subscribe

Some cryptic writing has appeared in spray-paint on our sidewalk, with arrows pointing to our house. Is this just normal graffiti, or could it be more threatening?

First, here's a picture.

The pink tag appeared first, and the yellow tag appeared a few days later.

Is this just standard graffiti to the effect of "Bob was here"?

Could it be a thief sending a signal to others, like "This looks like a good house to rob"? We live in a neighborhood with moderate crime, and burglaries aren't uncommon here. Our car windows have been smashed before, and houses on our street have been broken into in the past. Neighbors have also reported suspicious characters who appear to be casing houses.

Or might it be a benign symbol from the road/utility departments? I know I've seen similar markings on streets before, but not on a residential sidewalk.

Maybe I'm just being paranoid. Any ideas?
posted by aldebaran to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Best answer: Looks like markers for utility work for me. Usually in bright colored work paint. Marks water/sewer/gas lines for future utility work.

Pretty sure you have nothing to worry about aside from the fact that your sidewalk may be torn up in the future.
posted by WickedPissah at 2:31 PM on November 28, 2010 [13 favorites]

Best answer: Yellow = natural gas, pink = temp survey marking.
posted by fixedgear at 2:33 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding everything WickedPissah said. Here's a photo also with arrows.
posted by griphus at 2:33 PM on November 28, 2010

Best answer: I agree, looks like marks for construction.... relax...
posted by HuronBob at 2:40 PM on November 28, 2010

Best answer: nthing ...I have the same thing on my sidewalk from where they redug a collapsed sewer line last year
posted by timsteil at 2:42 PM on November 28, 2010

Best answer: It's utility markings, they're all over my sidewalk and street even after everything got dug up and redone.

Why would a thief graffiti the sidewalk of somewhere he was trying to rob? It doesn't make any sense. The name of the game when robbing someone is to keep the profits to oneself, not share with anyone who happens to meander by via arrows spraypainted on the sidewalk. Also, I think that if a potential burglar did intend to share his future mark with another, he would probably use a telephone to do so.
posted by kpht at 2:58 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: As others have mentioned, those are for the city to know where to dig and where not to dig.

Contrary to (popular belief in the 80's), most actual graffiti isn't gang related, anyway. House robbers wouldn't want to encourage competitors, and anyone who would be targeting a house for violence would just go meetup/text/or call each other to set it, not leave a giant spray paint sign.
posted by yeloson at 2:59 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Phew! Thanks for your help, everyone. Had I found the utility location wikipedia page earlier, I wouldn't have been so worried.
posted by aldebaran at 3:00 PM on November 28, 2010

Funny, I wonder if OP had hobo code or hobo markings in mind? Pretty similar actually to what OP was seeing.
posted by facetious at 3:26 PM on November 28, 2010

If you call one of the things listed in the wikipedia article -- "Call before you dig", "Digger's Hotline", "One-call", "Miss Utility", or Underground Service Alert -- whatever it is in your state, they can send you a very nice brochure with the color-coding explained, the rules summarized, and the number to call with any questions. They'll usually answer questions from property owners -- you're not the only person to get freaked out by the markings! And even people who know what the markings are sometimes want to know if there's large-scale work about to begin!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:48 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is a list of each state's diggers hotline. They haven't got a standardized name, which is unfortunate, but they have standardized on 8-1-1 as a hotline (before 2007, this was often a phone company service hotline; those are now 6-1-1).
posted by dhartung at 9:25 PM on November 28, 2010

« Older I need your best cookie recipe ever!!!! No...   |   How do you organize your sing-along song book? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.