San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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October 28th, 2008
City unveils graffiti abatement initiative

From the city of San Marcos

The City of San Marcos is intent on wiping out graffiti across the community—armed with a new “soda blaster” and a program to educate the public, eradicate unsightly scrawls in public places, and enforce state and local laws.

At a press conference Tuesday morning, Mayor Narvaiz laid out the basics of a program that is being developed by the San Marcos Police Department, Parks and Recreation, Neighborhood Services, and the Main Street Program.

“While the graffiti problem in San Marcos is not severe, it is a quality of life issue. We want to enlist the help of the community to eliminate graffiti as quickly as possible,” said Mayor Susan Narvaiz.

City officials demonstrated the environmentally friendly  $32,000 soda blaster that combines baking soda with air or water and high pressure to erase unsightly paintings on bridges, buildings, culverts and sidewalks.

The Graffiti Abatement Initiative will include:

  • Removal of graffiti as quickly as possible
  • Reporting graffiti through a telephone hotline (512-754-2270) and email (graffiti@ci.san-marcos.tx.us )
  • Recruitment of community partners to donate paint and help clean up graffiti, including local businesses, building owners, Gary Job Corps, Texas State University, and civic organizations.
  • Development of liability waivers for private property owners for graffiti removal.
  • Review and amendment of local ordinances.
  • Improved enforcement of graffiti laws.

“Graffiti makes a community unsightly,” Mayor Narvaiz said. “This program is an important part of the City Council’s goal to beautify San Marcos, and we appreciate the participation of community organizations and businesses in this process.”

The San Marcos Parks & Recreation Department purchased the soda blaster in September and has already made good use of the machine to eliminate graffiti in city parks.

State law prohibits making markings with aerosol paint, indelible marker or an etching or engraving device on property without the consent of the owner.

Penalties are assessed based on the loss suffered by the property owner. Depending on the damage and the target, the offense may range from Class A or B misdemeanors with fines up to $4,000 and jail time from six months to a year to felonies.

Scrawling graffiti on schools, higher education institutions, places of worship, cemeteries, public monuments, or community centers providing medical, social or educational programs makes the crime a state jail felony. Depending on the degree of the felony, fines and punishment range up to $10,000 with imprisonment from two year to up to 99 years for a first degree felony.

For more information about the Graffiti Abatement Program, contact Crime Prevention Officer Danny Arredondo at 512-754-2270.

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