Property owners who fail to clean up graffiti could face fines

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis City-County councilors are considering an ordinance that would penalize private property owners who fail to cover up or paint over graffiti within 30 days of the city taking notice.

The proposal’s sponsor has also suggested a program that could offer the homeowners or business owners low-cost or free cleanup.

“It’s not out of control completely, but it’s moving that way,” said Jeff Miller, the Indianapolis City-County councilor who’s sponsoring the proposal. He believes graffiti is, among other things, hurting property values.

Under the proposal, property owners could see a $50 fine more than 30 days after the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement first sends a warning.

“Once ‘taggers’ realize people don’t seem to care, they think, ‘We have a nice tableau to do your artwork, and we’ll keep coming back,’ and you run the risk that it may be gang graffiti,” said Miller.

Public Safety Director Troy Riggs also admitted that he was surprised by the amount of graffiti he’s seen since taking on his position.

“We want to make sure we get ahead of it, and we’re proactively dealing with graffiti,” Riggs told Fox 59.

Under the proposed program, which Miller believes may get his proposed ordinance more support, the city would partner with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and some private companies like paint suppliers.

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, the area nonprofit known for its cleanup efforts, has promised to expand its Adopt a Block Program to include graffiti cleanup.

The hope is to attract current and new volunteers, who have been empowered to clean up their own neighborhood. They would also help make the cleanup low cost if not free.

“There could be suppliers that could contribute or donate paint to the cause,” said Joseph Jarzen, a Keep Indianapolis Beautiful official who added that paint suppliers or stores will play a necessary role if the program were to move forward.

“Let’s take ownership together. Let’s help folks out,” Miller told Fox 59.

Miller said the City-County Council will likely vote on the proposed ordinance later this month after Riggs’ team has finalized its preferred planned moving forward.

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