Penalties increased for graffiti vandalism in city
On May 13 Councilman Bruce A. Kraus introduced legislation in City Council providing for monetary fines for crimes of graffiti vandalism. Those amendments passed with a unanimous vote by council on May 27.
Fines will go into the Graffiti Trust Fund administered by City Council and by the Director of Public Safety.
"We are determined to keep our city beautiful. We plan to take all possible measures to reduce the amount of graffiti in Pittsburgh to zero," said Mr. Kraus.
Also unanimously passed was legislation requiring stores to prevent theft of spray paint, and sales of spray paint to underage customers.
The imposition of fines was an action item recommended by the Graffiti Task Force founded by former Council President Gene Ricciardi. Mr. Kraus was its first chairman.
With the passage of the new legislation, two of the task force's action items have been accomplished since Mr. Kraus took office. The first was changing previously existing anti-graffiti legislation to include fines of up to $250 for damage exceeding $300; up to $800 for damage exceeding $1,000; up to $1,400 for damage exceeding $5,000, and $1,400 for every $5,000 thereafter. The second was sending a ‘Will of Council' to the United States Postal Service requesting they institute an Adopt a Mailbox program so that citizens can paint over graffiti vandalism on local mailboxes.
Councilman Kraus will continue to initiate other anti-graffiti action items including working with Planning and Zoning to enact procedures requiring developers to use materials, landscaping and exterior design that deter graffiti vandals; working with Planning and Public Works to encourage the use of pleasing murals on large surfaces that are seen by the public; and exploring how state and federal government can be held accountable for the removal of graffiti from surfaces that are in the city, but are the responsibility of non-city governments.
"We continue to develop ways of combating graffiti," said Mr. Kraus, "even in consultation with other cities. All ideas are welcome. This is a continuing battle that the citizens of Pittsburgh deserve to win."