Thursday August 26, 2004
For Immediate Release
For Information Contact:
Jennifer F. Brislin
Patrick H. Neely
At a news conference today, Louisville Metro Councilmen Glen Stuckel, R-17, and Dan Johnson, D-21, announced their plan to reduce graffiti in the community.
“Graffiti is a blight on our community,” Stuckel said. “Not only does it deface property, but police consider it a gateway crime – it leads to other criminal or destructive behavior.”
Their proposed ordinance limits a minor’s access to graffiti materials, increases ability to charge a person with the crime and creates a process to remove graffiti more quickly.
“There is a significant cost to removing graffiti," Johnson said. “If we stop it at the source by denying paint to youth, we will save tax dollars.”
Stuckel and Johnson have been working with the Louisville Metro Police and the administration’s facilities management department on this issue to ensure that the ordinance is enforceable and achievable without increasing costs.
The ordinance includes several new components to fight graffiti, including:
* People under age 18 can’t purchase items commonly used for graffiti, such as aerosol spray paint, etching acid and broad-tipped indelible markers;
* If a person is in possession of those materials on public property or private property without the owner’s consent, then it can be considered intent to deface property; and
* Graffiti will be removed more quickly. Within 10 days of a violation notice, the property owner must remove or cover the graffiti, or sign a waiver form that will allow Metro Government to remove the graffiti without charge to the responsible party. If a waiver is not signed within 10 days, Metro Government can remove the graffiti and bill the responsible party for the cost.
“Our goal is to protect neighborhoods,” Stuckel said. “Graffiti can be a sign that a neighborhood is in decline. The ‘broken windows’ theory suggests that there is a sequence of events that leads to a deteriorating neighborhood. This decay includes broken windows, accumulated trash and graffiti. As this decay builds, people who live and work in the area feel vulnerable and withdraw, which leads to further decline. We want to stop that cycle before it tips the balance of our neighborhoods.”
The ordinance will be introduced at tonight’s Council meeting and referred to the Government Administration, Rules, Ethics and Audit Committee, which will meet at 4 p.m. Monday.
Dan Johnson (D) 21
Glen Stuckel (R) 17