"Graffiti's not linked to gangs at all. It's not the graffiti writers who are committing all these murders and robberies. Graffiti writers go out, and they're basically risking their own lives, not anybody else's. We'll get shot at by gangsters, or get beat. They're not going to just watch us write. They don't like us in their neighborhoods. I'm more afraid of gangs than the police," she says.
So if JERK could talk to Bratton directly, without fear of ending up in steel bracelets, what would she tell him to change his mind?
"When people get older, they're set in their ways. They're more stubborn, and the harder it is to make them try to see anything else. No matter what I say, he's going to think what he wants. He'll just say, 'You're young, and the city doesn't trust you.' That's it."
What if there were more legal walls? JERK says it might cut down on the illegal stuff, but not completely. The risk of getting caught is part of the rush of doing the deed. Ironically, if all graffiti were legalized tomorrow, the allure of producing it would likely dissipate. By cracking down on graffiti, Bratton and other law enforcement help ensure its survival as a subculture.
"Certain things were meant to be done a certain way," JERK says. "No matter what, I'll always be doing graffiti on some level."