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Three Graffiti Laws With Guts

In an effort to curtail graffiti, Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently signed three bills into law that he hopes will clean up existing graffiti throughout the city.
All three bills, which a number of Queens Councilmen introduced, address different avenues that the city can explore to reduce the number of graffiti incidents and its visibility throughout the city.
“We are giving the police more effective tools to combat these graffiti vandals,” said City Councilman Peter Vallone, who was one of the sponsors for all three laws.
One of the new laws requires that all commercial property owners and owners of residential properties of six or more units keep their property free of graffiti, instituting a $300 fine for failure to remove it.
“These property owners will not face any penalty if they inform the City - through 311 - of the graffiti on their property and sign a waiver allowing the City to clean it,” Bloomberg said.
The second law makes it more difficult for youth to possess graffiti instruments - such as etching acid, spray paint cans and broad-tipped indelible markers - by increasing the age from 18 to 21 to buy these items.
“The bill also prohibits the possession of graffiti instruments in any public place or motor vehicle when a person possesses them with the intent to make graffiti,” Bloomberg said.
Finally, the last piece of legislation will allow a person convicted of graffiti related crimes to do community service in a removal program designed to deter them of committing new acts of graffiti.
“We in the city are serious about combating graffiti,” said City Councilman David Weprin, who was also a co-sponsor of the three bills. “It is not just a childish prank; it is a serious crime.”
Vallone said that it appears that graffiti incidents have been on the rise recently, and it was important to take these measures now in order to put a stop to the vandalism.
“We realize that we are pushing the envelope, but that is what is necessary to continue to keep graffiti from spreading,” Vallone said.

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