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City Discusses Punishing Business Owners Who Don't Clean Up Graffiti

City council discussed cracking down on business owners who leave graffiti on their buildings for too long

So, how long is too long to leave graffiti on a building for all to see?

Fourteen days? Thirty days?

members gave it some discussion at Monday night's meeting, saying they're tired of seeing business owners drag their feet when it comes to cleaning up their graffiti-tagged buildings.

Council discussed a proposed ordinance that would require business owners to remove the graffiti within a certain amount of time. Some agreed 14 days was plenty of time, while others thought 30 days was more reasonable.

"I think this is absolutely needed," said Councilman Jeff Peters, Ward 2. He shared a his experience with a business owner who, after trying and failing to remove graffiti from his building, said he'd give up and leave it there. "And it's because of that type of attitude that we need some teeth on this."

If the business owner doesn't remove the graffiti within the decided time frame, he could be prosecuted for a first-degree misdemeanor; however, the person who actually commits the vandalism or criminal damaging would typically be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, which is not as severe.

Councilman Doug Foltz, Ward 1, supported the proposed legislation.

"We're better to have (the graffiti) taken off as soon as we can," he said. "Something gang-related can be dangerous. And it's unsightly and offensive."

Council is expected to introduce the proposed ordinance Monday.

Ken Palosi June 19, 2012 at 11:59 AM
I find it incredulous that council members would punish business and property owners more severly than they would the vandals that put the graffiti on the property in the first place. The graffiti problem won't go away by punishing the victims of a crime. The graffit plauging our city is another sign of the continuing decline of our community. Since it is very difficult to catch and punish the vandals that do this our council has decided to bury its head in the sand of more iladvised legislation instead of stepping up efforts to address the graffiti problem.
KC June 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM
I agree with Doug Foltz, the graffiti should be removed asap from the businesses and their properties. It's a matter of pride. If there was graffitti junk on your home, you better believe that as soon as you contacted the authorities, insurance agent (if needed) took pictures of it, etc. that you would get it cleaned off. Once again, a matter of personal pride.
Morgan Day (Editor) June 19, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Hey Ken! Some city officials voiced their concern about how severe the penalty was last night and how it didn't make a whole lot of sense to make it more severe than the person actually committing a crime. I guess we'll see what they decide on next week.
John Doe June 19, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Ken---I couldn't agree more with you! Maybe NCPD should focus on catching the vandals rather than punishing the victims. What about this--if the person tagging is not caught in 14-30 days, the officer on duty should be charged with the 1st degree misdemeanor..that's just as crazy as charging the victim.
Fred Benson June 19, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Things like the dumpster shown in the above photo don't belong to the business owner. Who's responsible for that? Also,the graffiti people are purchasing their spray paint somewhere in the city. Ask the store owners to check for id when paint is purchased. Maybe enact a law that you must be 18 to purchase. Just a little brain storming here.
Morgan Day (Editor) June 19, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Fred, that's a really good point about the Dumpsters. I'll make sure to ask.
Ken Palosi June 19, 2012 at 08:00 PM
What we need is a community effort to catch these vandals. Something akin to a neighbrohood watch except make it city wide with business owners, residents such as myself and my nieghbors, educators, and orginizations such as the YMCA that deal with young people to be alert and if comminty members hear or see something suspicious to report it to the authorities. It is imperative that we bring back a sense of pride in our community. If we let the rable take over our city then no welcoming sign, no matter how grand it is will entice people or businesses to reside here.
Daniel J Peters June 19, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Ken, this "ill advised' legislation is only one component of our efforts to combat this problem. I gaurantee Chief Wilder and his staff are working every angle, in their efforts to catch and prosecute these criminals. If you read my comments in this article again, i hope it becomes clear to you why we need this. However, a 1st degree misdemeanor is a little harsh. We will discuss this further. I hope to see you at the next meeting, and hear your suggestions. take care... Daniel J Peters, ward 2 councilman
Ken Palosi June 19, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Thank you for your response Daniel. I know that Chief Wilder is doing everything in his power and I have the utmost respect for him and our police officers, but catching the graffiti vandals will require that the whole community becomes involved. Passing legislation to punish victims of crimes is a defeatist attitude that shows council has shown in the past and is evidence that council has no solution to solving problems. This was demonstrated most notably in last year's response to flooding problems in North Canton where council's only action was to ask citizens to contribute to a fund to help those hurt by the flood. Maybe we could use some of that money raised to buy a pressure washer and help business owners clean their buildings. Sorry Daniel, but I and many others are very disillusioned with the actions of council and the adminstration.
John Doe June 20, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Daniel Apparently you have missed the entire point of the posting. I have faith in NCPD performing their duty, it was used as an example to how ludicrous of an idea it is to punish people for acts they have no control over. Secondly, and more important your statement “However, a 1st degree misdemeanor is a little harsh” shows that your mindset is not focused on what is best for the people who live and work in your community and how dare the city council attempt to violate the rights of these business owners who have already been victimized. The role of government is to protect and serve the people, not punish and break their wills, forcing them to conform to the will of those elected. The council needs to realize its role as servants of the people and not master and commander of the city.
Brandi Adamski June 21, 2012 at 01:20 PM
What's interesting is, in Canton, they know exactly who is tagging (I can think one spot - concrete posts of a 77 overpass) and they don't stop him. I would imagine the city is responsible for that space and they've covered it once in three years, leaving the tag there, essentially. It would be nice if the City of Canton followed suit for themselves! At least it's being talked about in North Canton!
Katie Miller June 25, 2012 at 02:04 PM
This really saddens me. I have an 82 year old aunt whose garage was spray painted pretty badly with graffiti mid May. Thanks to a dear nephew who works at Sherwin Williams he got it off two weeks later for her with a special product. Unfortunately the stop sign on her corner STILL has the graffiti on it. A police officer told her he turned it in and it will be removed. That was six weeks ago! The city has left a stop sign marked for six weeks. Are they accountable for their own timetable? I understand the city can't entice families or businesses to move here with graffiti on buildings. We can entice them with a sense of community and service towards each other. What about a city that provided business owners with cleaner/brushes to remove the graffiti? Don't kick people while they are down(or victimized). Help them up.
Ken Palosi June 25, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Katie. Can you contact your nephew and find out what the product is that he used. I would be very interested in knowing what it was.
Katie Miller June 25, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Yep. He said it is called "Graffiti Remover", $9.99 a can(aerosole) retail. Professionals could probably get a discount.
Ken Palosi June 25, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Thanks Katie. There is a Sherwin Williams store on Applegrove. They have a rewards program and I believe you get a discount on non sale items if you sign up. Thanks again.

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