Battle against Chicago graffiti

Chicago Alderman Michael Zalewski is pushing for more severe consequences for graffiti vandals. In the cases of juvenile perpetrators, parents as well as the underage vandals are to pay a higher price.

Zalewski’s push to adopt a new strategy against graffiti came in the wake of the vandalism of the Chicago Police Memorial Wall near Soldier Field just prior to Father’s Day weekend. As it coincided with increased visitation to the memorial to pay respect to fallen loved ones for Father’s Day, the tagging evoked a great deal of impassioned response, with Zalewski himself calling the act “disgusting,” reported CBS.

Zalewski is taking on the initiative to have graffiti cases tried in court and handled by judges, which would increase the chances of severe punishment and resulting jail sentences. Currently, a majority of graffiti cases are handled by hearing officers and result in issuance of tickets.

If Zalewski has his way, fines for graffiti vandals would increase from $750 to $2,000 and rather than being punishable by up to 1,500 hours of community service, his ideal is to sentence perpetrators to three or more days in jail or 2,500 hours of community service. Parents of juvenile vandals would also be fined more.

The City of Chicago website details the city’s commitment to removing graffiti, saying, “Graffiti is vandalism, it scars the community, hurts property values and diminishes our quality of life.” The website provides steps to request graffiti removal as part of its mission to maintain city standards.

With an effective crackdown on vandalism, there could be a complementary increase in property value for real estate in Chicago.