16 May 2009

Tagged - You're It!

The Manville Borough Council is still considering a proposed ordinance that would make property owners responsible for cleaning graffiti from their buildings. Similar laws have been deliberated in towns and cities across the nation - from Wichita Falls, to Brockton, Massachusetts. What all of these laws have in common is that they end up punishing the victim, rather than the perpetrator.

Business owners and landlords who have had their buildings defaced with graffiti are victims of a crime. The goal should be to encourage the victims to come forward and report acts of vandalism - not drive them away with punitive fines and remediation timetables.

The logical conclusion to these types of laws is that graffiti vandalism will not be reported - necessitating a "graffiti task force" of police officers or code officials, or, perhaps, some type of vigilante "Keep Manville Clean" citizens' group to report on their neighbors.

The point is that all of this effort will go into finding and punishing the victims of graffiti - while the real vandals roam free.

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