As the frequency of graffiti tagging continues to rise, so too do the costs for cleaning it up. In a creative attempt to force the graffiti taggers to shoulder a greater percentage of the financial burden, both to cover real abatement costs and to discourage future graffiti tagging, in San Francisco, the City Attorney is filed a civil law suit against a graffiti taggers to cover the costs of cleaning up her graffiti tags. The complaint lists 58 tags and assigns the remediation cost at $53,788 or $927.38 per graffiti tag.
In this case, most of the property owners will be city or transit agencies.
City graffiti abatement staff photograph graffiti tags prior to removing them using the city's 311 app so that a database of graffiti tags can be accumulated.
Salt Lake City, Utah: Felony and misdeameanor charges have been filed against five graffiti taggers in Salt Lake City, aged 20 to 23. These taggers have cost the city thousands of dollars in graffiti abatement costs. Some large scale roof graffiti cost and graffiti on historic buildings exceeded $25k.
A determined effort by the police department and gang unit lead to the arrest of the taggers. Many others are being pursued. In the meantime, the arrests and charges should make taggers think twice before tagging again.
Graffiti Taggers Beware. The Fredericksburg Police Department is fed up with the significant increase in graffiti tagging in the community and has issues a $500 Reward for tips that lead to the arrest of a graffiti tagger. In 2014, there were 16 graffiti tags reported. In 2015, there have already been 55 reported cases of graffiti.
The reward give the taggers pause before they go out tagging in the future, but the recent arrest of a local graffiti tagger will have much more impact to deter them from creating more graffiti. This multi-pronged response to eliminate and reduce graffiti is a best practice and should lead to a reduction in the frequency of graffiti tagging.
Gang graffiti tagging in public spaces is problematic enough, but the spray painting of "ISIS" on a river back in Pueblo, Colorado powerfully shifts the conversation to a political one. What is the message trying to be communicated by these taggers promoting a group that actively engages in beheading Americans, selling captured girls into slavery, and a wide variety of gruesome and barbaric acts? If they were caught tagging in the areas controlled by ISIS, my guess is that their punishment would be both severe and barbaric.
Louisville, Kentucky - Philip G. Rodriguez, 25, was arrested for stealing t-shirts from a local store. The reason for the theft was that the store owner, Jeffrey Dotson, photographed graffiti on his building and printed it on t-shirts with proceeds going to support Brightside, the Louisville beautification effort. Rodriguez, a prolific graffiti tagger, claimed the image was his and that the t-shirts violated his copyright.
So is graffiti protected by copyright law? Does the photography of the tag change its status from vandalism to art? How can one claim ownership over the tag without admitting to vandalism and potential exposure to criminal charges?
More at Courier-Journal.com
Salt Lake City, Utah - A North Salt Lake graffiti tagger was arrested after police detectives were able to match graffiti tags with 150 photos of graffiti tags posted on the taggers's facebook page.
"As a graffiti artist, it appears that he was pretty proud of his work,” Gwilliam said, "They want to be recognized to a certain extent for their work. They are, generally speaking, very proud of what they do."
More at Deseret News
Santa Barbara, California - After a four month investigation and good of detective work, Santa Barbara law enforcement were able to identify and arrest a graffiti tagger. He has been sentanced to 180 days in jail for his graffiti damage. Success is due to the detective assigned to the investigation who had experience with gang related issues.
More at Santa Barbara Independent
Buffalo, New York - A prolific tagger has been sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service and thousands of dollars for hundreds of graffiti tags.
“You had the audacity to deface and paint and dirty up our city,” Judge DiTullio told him. “Now, you will clean up your mess and your graffiti under the watchful eye of city officials, the Probation Department and this court. I would guess, Mr. Whitefield, that leaning up your mess will be a lot harder than creating it. It’s a lot harder to take off paint than slap it on.”
More at The Buffalo News
Toledo, Ohio - The owner of a 50 year old flag business, located in an historic fire station, wants justice. She wants the teenager arrested for tagging her building and six others buildings in the commercial corridor, to pay retribution by scrubbing the spray painted graffiti off the 86 year old historicbrick facade.
Wendy Beallas, the owner of Flags Sales and Repairs, said if convicted, “I want him to be responsible and accountable for himself and clean it up,” she said. “This was very destructive. I want him to clean it, not just my building, but all the buildings.”
“I am very disappointed,” she said, “It is just unbelievable and senseless to me.”
More detail at the Toledo Blade
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island – Legislation in the Rhode Island State Senate proposes to make graffiti a felony.
According to bill’s sponsor, Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin, “Graffiti is a serious crime that causes damage to property and costs owners hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair. Often it can’t really be fully repaired at all. But worse, it makes neighborhoods look run-down and uncared for, sending a message to others that it won’t matter if they decide to add more graffiti, litter or blight to the area. Graffiti has a significant indirect effect on the quality of life in addition to the direct physical damage it causes, so it really should be handled seriously.”
The legislation would make graffiti a felony where there was more than $1,000 of damage. Repeat offenders would be potentially subject to $1,000 fine, 200 hours of community service, and up to a year in jail.
The legislation would allow the court to order convicted graffiti tagger to pay for the full cost of the damage.
The guardians of convicted minors could be held responsible for up to $1,000 of restitution for damages.
“Graffiti shouldn’t be treated lightly. It’s a genuine crime with real victims and high costs. It robs neighborhoods of their quality of life, and those who commit that vandalism should be held responsible for their actions,” said Senator Goodwin.
More at WPRI.com.
From Clean City Innovation Graffiti Watch