by Paul Nelson
SALT LAKE CITY — Today is the first day of the 2012 legislative session. One of the bills being proposed this year would give officers and prosecutors more options to go after people suspected of tagging graffiti.
“It’s just something that we don’t want in our community, we don’t want in our neighborhoods and we don’t want in our state,” said Sen. Karen Mayne, who is sponsoring Senate Bill 107.
Mayne says police officers don’t have any truly meaningful ways to go after people they suspect of tagging. Under SB 107, graffiti would be at least a class B misdemeanor. The charges could be more serious depending on how much damage is done.
The measure also would make it a class B misdemeanor to possess items used to make graffiti, if officers and prosecutors thought the suspect intended to use them that way.
“When you’re out at 2:00 in the morning with a spray can, a ladder and brushes, you’re not painting my neighbor’s garage,” Mayne observed.
Mayne says paints used by taggers are more damaging to walls and fences than in years past.
“They’re costing people so much money to fix their fences, and now [with] this corrosive stuff that [taggers] can put on fences, they will have to replace the fence,” Mayne said.
She says the proposal has received a lot of support from law enforcement agencies all over the state.