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Saturday, Apr 20, 2024

Businesses Offered Ability to Pass Expense of Graffiti on to City

Businesses in the region may benefit from a new municipal ordinance designed to both fight graffiti and provide restitution to companies and individuals that have been stricken by vandals. Each year, the City of Los Angeles spends more than $7 million cleaning up more than 31 million square feet of graffiti at more than 650,000 locations, according to the city. The approved ordinance will enable the City’s Board of Public Works to remove graffiti from private property at city expense provided the property owner assign to the city any cause of action against the perpetrator. This will allow the city to become the direct victim of the graffiti vandalism and will entitle the city to criminal restitution; permit the city to hold the offender civilly liable; and collect the expense of abatement without having to invoice the property owner. “With the passage of this legislation, we are aggressively going after graffiti vandals,” said Councilman Dennis P. Zine. The advent of a Nuisance Abatement Lien puts teeth in the measure, allowing the city to levy liens against the property of the offender or parents of juveniles in order to recover the cost of graffiti abatement. The City will also create a graffiti database which will allow officers to photograph all graffiti vandalism with identifying names, monikers or symbols and then store that information in order to sort by name, tagging crew, gang and location. Information obtained through use of the Graffiti Database will provide law enforcement with addeed tools for targeting graffiti vandals both civilly and criminally in order to recoup graffiti damage costs, court costs, attorney fees, investigative costs, and civil penalties, than they currently have. A similar database is already in use in the City of Pico Rivera and is credited with reducing graffiti 35 percent and resulting in more than $250,000 in restitution orders. Additionally, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo recently sponsored Assembly Bill 576, which was passed, and is still being considered by the State Senate, that also helps local governments recover criminal restitution from gang members and vandals. Thom Senzee

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