Law Would Make Parents Responsible For Graffiti Cleanup Cost
Saying “Enough is enough” to those that would use our city as their personal canvas, Brooklyn City Councilman Lew Fidler announced that he had introduced a bill this week that would not only toughen penalties for those found guilty of graffiti and vandalism, but for the first time make parents liable for paying those fines if the offender is under the age of 18.
“People are fed up with graffiti in this city. We spend countless dollars removing it. I fund not one, but two graffiti removal programs in my own district,” Fidler said. “It’s time that we showed people that we are serious about putting a stop to it once and for all. We have to change a culture that seems to think that some have a right to disrespect your property, our property, our City.”
The bill would allow fines of up to $1,000 for the first offense and up to $1,500 for subsequent offenses. Addi-tionally, if the offender is a minor, his or her custodial parents would be liable to pay the fine and liens could be placed against the parents property to enforce the fine. Since convicting graffiti vandals is the hardest part of the problem, the bill also doubles the amount of reward money that the City is au-thorized to pay to someone who provides information leading to a conviction.
Fidler was joined in the sponsorship of this bill by Republican Councilman James Oddo, who drafted the measure, and by all of southern Brooklyn’s coun-cil representatives: Dominic Recchia, Kendall Stewart, Nuje Beksib, Vincent Gentile and Yvette Clarke.
“The effort is bi-partisan and multi-ethnic. I think that speaks volumes as to the level of frustration all New Yorkers have with the graffiti problem,” Fidler added.
“Through my first four years in office, I have arranged for almost $100,000 in funding to remove graffiti in my district,” Fidler said. “That money would be better spent if we could prevent all of it in the first place.”
“I believe that parents ought to be responsible for their kids. In fact, that is why I oppose the curfew legislation that was recently introduced to the Council. Parents should be making those decisions, not the government. We have civil liberties in this country,” Fidler noted. “But people also have a right to clean streets and to keep their own property graffiti clean. Graffiti van-dals do not have respect for the rights of others.”
“It started on subway walls and toilet stalls. It moved above ground to tenement walls and lampposts. Then we started to see it on the street beds and the sides of commercial buildings. Now we see it on private homes and fences,” Fidler said. “It’s just got to stop once and for all.”