City Councilman Paul Krekorian said Tuesday it's time to take a tougher stand against graffiti vandals in Los Angeles.
A motion introduced by Krekorian seeks harsher penalties against taggers and would also double the reward from $1,000 to $2,000 for those who provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of vandals who deface murals.
"These are vandals who are ruining our neighborhoods. They are vandals and they should be arrested," Krekorian told Video News West before this morning's council meeting got underway.
The Los Angeles Office of Community Beautification spends $7.7 million a year on removing graffiti.
"It really is something that hits every taxpayer in the city right in the pocket," Krekorian said.
Under the councilman's motion -- introduced Friday and assigned to the Public Safety Committee -- the City Attorney's Office would be tasked with offering up options on stricter penalties for graffiti vandals who are arrested.
The municipal code currently calls for an administrative fine of $250 for a first graffiti offense, $500 for the second and $1,000 for the third. State law calls for a range of penalties, including jail time.
"This is blight that really causes a degradation of our quality of life, and I think we've seen that where we allow graffiti to fester, additional crime follows," Krekorian said.
Murals are often targeted because the removal of the vandalism is much more difficult than repainting a blank wall.
"It really takes restoration," he said.
Krekorian's district includes Studio City and North Hollywood.
—City News Service