SF supervisor creates new plan to deal with graffiti problem

A San Francisco supervisor is coming up with a new plan to clean up the city's multi-million dollar graffiti problem.
March 18, 2014 5:48:02 PM PDT
There's a new plan to clean up San Francisco's multi-million dollar graffiti problem. A San Francisco supervisor wants to start hitting taggers where it hurts -- in the wallet.

Unfortunately graffiti can be seen all over town, so now a supervisor has a tool to target the worst offenders and make them pay up.

San Francisco has a nearly $20 million a year graffiti headache and Larry Mathews is feeling the pain. Under city law private property owners have to remove graffiti or face a fine.

"It cost me probably $15,000 in the last year. They go on my roof, scale it like Spiderman. They paint over everything," property owner Larry Mathews said.

The Department of Public Works which shared this video says 5,000 graffiti complaints are logged every month.

A new measure unveiled Tuesday by Supervisor London Breed would target the taggers in civil court rather than the more difficult criminal court system. And perpetrators, not the victims, would have to pay for the clean-up.

"It will hold offenders accountable for their actions, not just maybe hours of community service, but more importantly digging in their pocketbooks to make sure they're paying for the crimes that are committed," Breed said.

Darnell Boyd says he's worried about the financial burden for kids he sees tagging Muni buses.

"Give them community service that's OK, but to make the parents pay a big bill, that's going to be hard because those kids are low income kids," Boyd said.

The San Francisco Police Department says 28 juveniles and 175 adults were arrested last year. That number could go up as part of the supervisor's legislation that calls for a new evidence collection process and a crime analyst to identify serial taggers.

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