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Santa Ana parents to pay for graffiti

August 3, 2009 7:03:45 AM PDT
Santa Ana City Council members voted Monday on an anti-graffiti law that holds parents financially responsible for their children's crimes.The law officially makes graffiti a crime in the city of Santa Ana.

The Santa Ana city council adopted the anti-graffiti law on Monday night.

"We have to show everybody that we mean business about graffiti and taking some serious bite out of crime," said Sean Coolidge, who helped draft the ordinance.

A group of residents and business owners drafted the ordinance, which holds parents financially responsible for the crimes committed by their kids.

"It's a compromise, which is better than what we've had," said Thomas Anthony, who also helped with the ordinance. "It technically really wasn't illegal in the past to do graffiti in the city of Santa Ana. Now it's criminal to basically even possess spray markers, a spray can."

Graffiti is a costly problem for the city. Santa Ana expects to spend over $2 million on graffiti removal. But the new law gives the city the power to collect fines from taggers or their parents. The law could even put liens on their homes.

"Something dramatic needs to occur," said Debbie McEwan, who was another resident to help draft the ordinance. "They need to fear us more than they fear each other. And hopefully this will be the first step."

The law gives Santa Ana some of the broadest graffiti laws in Orange County. It is said to take effect in September.

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