Police statistics show the city’s graffiti removal van visited 2,453 locations through the end of September, a sharp increase from the 1,196 sites recorded in 2010. City crews also handled 2,508 graffiti cases through October, an increase of roughly 1,500 cases from the same time frame in 2010.
The city wants to bolster its laws against graffiti. Proposed changes to city ordinances would explicitly require property owners to remove graffiti from their property unless they give the city written or verbal permission to remove it.
Under the proposal, authorities could provide a written, 10-day notice to remove graffiti, then send workers to clear it if property owners didn’t remove it or appeal the city order within that time period.
Some neighborhood representatives and local business, though, say the changes don’t go far enough.
Language currently on the books creates a longer process in which property owners can end up having the city remove graffiti at its expense. Graffiti removal is estimated to make up $414,729 of the Public Works Department’s roughly $25 million budget next year. Officials expected to spend $347,324 in 2011.
Despite the proposed changes, officials say city practices to remove graffiti wouldn’t change. Crews would continue to remove graffiti from public property and clean up graffiti on private property when it’s encountered during their normal duties, said Scott McIntyre, the city’s street maintenance engineer.
“We’re not going to scale back our efforts. There’s a change in our philosophy where we want property owners to be a part of this and take responsibility for it,” he said.
What do you think? Will this work?