New Hope's graffiti ordinance focuses on prompt cleanup
The New Hope City Council adopted a new graffiti ordinance in the summer of 2005. The purpose of the ordinance is to help reduce the recurrence of graffiti, to provide the city with the authority to require graffiti to be cleaned up quickly when it occurs, and to maintain property values in the community by keeping properties clean and free of public nuisances.
Graffiti is a senseless form of vandalism that is often quite expensive to clean up. Research has shown that when graffiti is left unabated it becomes a public nuisance. It tends to lead to additional graffiti, can result in the perception of blight and increased public safety fears, and may ultimately lead to decreased property values in the neighborhoods where the graffiti is located.
The new ordinance makes the application of graffiti and the possession of graffiti implements with the intent to apply graffiti a misdemeanor. The ordinance also holds graffiti perpetrators responsible for prompt removal or to pay all costs associated with the removal of their graffiti. Unfortunately, it is frequently not possible for the New Hope Police Department to identify and apprehend the individual responsible for graffiti, and even less likely that the perpetrator will be apprehended within a short period of time. In those instances, the new ordinance gives the city the authority to require residents and businesses to clean up graffiti on their property quickly.
The city works with graffiti victims to provide the information and resources they need to remove the graffiti. When the city becomes aware of graffiti on private property, the Community Development Department mails a letter to the property owner requesting that the graffiti be cleaned up within five days. The letter includes a summary of the ordinance and basic information about graffiti removal methods. The city has also collaborated with Frattallone Ace Hardware, 3566 Winnetka Avenue North, to make sure that property owners will be able to find the graffiti clean up products they will need to finish the job.
In the rare instance when a business or homeowner is unwilling to cooperate with the city to clean up the graffiti, the ordinance also enables the city to clean up the graffiti or arrange for a contractor to clean it up and bill the property owner for the work. For its part, the city is committed to cleaning up graffiti on city-owned property as soon as it is aware of it.
New Hope residents and business people are encouraged to contact the police department by calling 9-1-1 whenever they see graffiti appear.
Assistance from the public in identifying graffiti is especially helpful in situations where the affected property owner may not immediately be aware of the property damage, including graffiti on items such as utility boxes, dumpsters, bus benches and street signs.
The city understands that graffiti can be a considerable burden for property owners. The City Council and city staff do not want businesses and homeowners to feel they are being victimized a second time by being required to clean up the graffiti on their property. This is an instance, however, where the needs of the New Hope community as-a-whole must supersede the needs of the individual property owner.
For more information about the graffiti ordinance and resources relating to graffiti removal, follow the link review the Graffiti Brochure .