• 03.22.13

Graffiti Vigilantes Have No Problem With Paint, Just Poor Grammar

The streets of London are no longer safe for graffiti…that has typos.

The Broken Windows Theory, perhaps most prominently written about by Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point, proposes that if a potential criminal sees evidence of crimes already committed in an area, he’s that much more likely to commit further offenses in the area. Broken windows in a building are likely to inspire people to care less about what else happens there. This theory was widely applied by the New York City Transit Police in the early-’90s to crack down on folks who graffitied trains. If every tagged train was scrubbed clean right away, perhaps further potential taggers would be discouraged from foisting their art (and worse) on the world. Now, a group in London is applying this idea to their graffiti problem, but the only crime it’s hoping to snuff out is poor grammar.


The Tutor Crowd is a London-based online tutoring service that recently started a new campaign very much offline. Members of the service have been sneaking around the streets of New London, spray paint in hand, and correcting typos in any bit of graffiti they can find. No misspellings or grammatical errors, no matter how profane, are safe from The Tutor Crowd–the scourge of improper spellers everywhere.

Have a look at the group’s handiwork in the slide show above.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.