Graffiti penalties don't deter, residents say
Reporter: Jessica Chapin
TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - A county-wide crack-down on graffiti is getting criticism from residents who say it's not deterring anyone. New penalties for repeat offenders include up to 180 days of jail time and thousands in fines.
One 19-year-old was the first recent case, receiving 90 days in jail, months of community service and orders to pay back the $26 thousand in damages he caused. Still, some residents say it's not tough enough.
"I think it should be harsher," said Midvale Park resident Gene Cuello. He says he's seen graffiti in the city increase in recent years, and nothing seems to help.
Midvale Park residents even volunteer to clean up the streets after taggers deface buildings and wash walls. A professional crew comes once a week, but it's still not enough to keep up.
9 On Your Side checked up on a wall wiped clean June 22, only to find that by June 29 it contained several examples of the paint can cancer that won't stop.
It's enough to make 20-year resident Christopher Lucas throw up his hands.
"Every time something new comes up, it always gets graffiti on it," he said, adding that they can't enjoy new buildings, and it does nothing for their town's reputation.
Residents aren't sure how they can overcome the obstacle. When asked what penalties they'd implement, one person responded, "Go to jail, pay a fine."
Cuello wants the parents to pay.
"I think they should charge the parents," he said, "Let the parents pay for that."
City council member Steve Kozachik also told 9 On Your Side he thinks penalties should be more harsh. But just what can deter taggers from defacing Tucson, is still unknown.