Two new bills will support community cleanup programs, force offenders to remove damage they caused.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation today to hold offenders accountable for crimes of vandalism and to remove graffiti from California 's streets and neighborhoods.
AB 1767  by San Francisco Assemblywoman Fiona Ma mandates community service for a person who has committed a criminal act of graffiti vandalism, and AB 2609  by Los Angeles Assemblyman Mike Davis requires defendants convicted of graffiti vandalism to clean up or repair the defaced or damaged property.
Santa Clarita has a zero tolerance policy for graffiti and volunteers staff a busy Anti-Graffiti Task Force that cleans up vandalized locations shortly after the offense. U.S. Department of Justice statistics estimate that $12 billion is spent around the country annually to clean up graffiti. In Los Angeles County, the annual cost is upwards of $55 million per year.
“As Governor, I have made the safety of our communities my top priority,” Governor Schwarzenegger said. “By cleaning up graffiti and holding offenders accountable for their actions, this legislation will make our streets and neighborhoods a safer and cleaner place to live.”
AB 1767 will be tested in a San Francisco pilot program where violators of graffiti vandalism will be ordered to participate in a minimum of 24 hours of community service if they have reached a civil compromise with the victim. This law targets graffiti abatement service programs as the community service outlet for offenders and remains in effect until January 1, 2012.
Similarly, AB 2609 requires the court to order offenders paroled for a graffiti violation to clean up, repair or replace the damaged property. Defendants would also be required to keep the damaged property or another specified property in the community free of graffiti for up to one year.