Graffiti: Fines and Community Service

Graffiti: Fines and Community Service

H2>The problem of graffiti is a prolific one, plaguing many metropolitan areas throughout the world.<>/h2> The consequences of this crime also carry a heavy toll. Destruction of private or public property, caused by the defacing nature of graffiti, is the driving force behind the criminal charges associated with those convicted of the crime. These consequences carry a strict no-tolerance policy in most cities throughout the United States, because cities want to deter graffiti.

 

Because graffiti is such a massive, unruly problem, legislation designed to prevent its occurrence has seen stiffer fines and penalties in recent years. Mandatory minimum fines can start as high as $1,000, and is punishable by no less than six months in jail, or more, depending on the severity of the damage caused by graffiti. These fines often then go to budgets allocated for graffiti abatement in cities where budgets are constrained.

 

In addition to these fines, community service is also dealt to those convicted of property defacement where the individual is assigned to clean up graffiti areas. This community service acts as both a humbling experience for the perpetrator, as well as cuts down on the cost and resources used to clean up the graffiti. Through the hard work of graffiti abatement, those convicted of graffiti charges are much less likely to become repeat offenders of this crime, helping to deter further recurrences.

 

Because most acts of graffiti and vandalism in general, are committed in areas and at times when there is less of a chance the suspect will be caught, the apprehension of suspects by law enforcement is highly unlikely; leads are very rarely followed up on.  If the graffiti was committed on a private residence or business then the responsibility of cleanup falls solely on the property owner, the victim of this type of crime.

 

Using specialized anti-graffiti surveillance cameras, suspects committing this crime can be easily identified. Evidence footage captured by these cameras is then used in cases to successfully prosecute individuals charged with property defacement. These cameras also act as a graffiti deterrent when the public is well-informed of their intention and placement.

 

Deterrence can be accomplished with community awareness that the area is being watched and hefty fines that include community service.

Illegal Dumping: An Environmental Crime

Illegal Dumping: An Environmental Crime

Even though many municipalities provide large bulk pickup programs, items such as: mattresses, used car parts, batteries, old appliances, and construction waste end up on sidewalks, roadways and remote locations, a sad environmental crime. Sometimes the unwanted expense of lawful means to dispose waste can be a factor when dealing with the problem of illegal dumping, but in a lot of cases convenience, an uncaring attitude towards the environment, and lax law enforcement contribute greatly to illegal dumping.

It is no coincidence that many items not properly or lawfully discarded are usually large bulk items that are difficult to deal with. Fees associated with the disposal of large bulk items or hazardous materials can fetch a high premium, and many companies are ever so diligent in finding new ways to cut corners and save on costs, which is convenient for them. However, a contradiction exists here. The disposal fees pale in comparison to criminal fines and have the ability to bankrupt a company convicted of illegal dumping, which is not convenient or desirable.

Even though some materials are extremely hazardous, often by-products of land clearing and demolition industries, these materials frequently make their way into illegal dumping sites and can contaminate ground and surface water. These environmentally unfriendly products include lead-based paints, used motor oil from gasoline-powered generators, and broken sections of drywall and insulation. If not disposed of in a lawful and federally regulated manner, hazardous materials can have disastrous effects to both the environment and our communities for decades to come, but these dumpers do not care.

The problem of illegal dumping only grows when nothing is done to stop it. Dump sites draw additional dumpers resulting in a “snowball” effect of large heaps of trash. Those persons who dump their garbage illegally are often drawn to remote, unsecured areas as well as areas around unattended waste containers.  Stiffer fines and tools designed to deter this activity in these remote areas are needed.

Barbed Wire

Youngstown Overcoming Illegal Dumping

The city of Youngstown is implementing proactive programs in the war on illegal dumping.

The placing of Illegal Dumping Cameras at dump sites has caused cases of illegal dumping to drop dramatically. But it doesn’t stop there. After suspects have been successfully surveilled, city prosecutors work vigilantly to see that these dumpers face the consequences of their actions. To add to the strategy, Youngstown used Social Media as a creative and effective means to combat Illegal dumping.  Youngstown posted pictures of suspects on their Facebook page in an effort to help identify offenders, which had great results.

Additionally, new laws and legislation passed by the voters of the state of Ohio find violators of these laws facing mandatory fines and possible jail time for serious offenders convicted of illegal dumping. Discarded cigarette butts and unsecured vehicular loads are now criminal offenses under Ohio statutes. In addition to these new revisions of law, the city of Youngstown has also implemented civilian use of new and much larger trash-carts, designed to help diminish cases of illegal dumping.

Unfortunately, Illegal Dumping of materials such as used tires, mattresses, old appliances, and other household waste is a large problem in the U.S. Prevention of unlawful waste disposal from happening in the first place and helping to minimize the possibility of re-occurrence are proactive steps to fight illegal dumping that Youngstown, Ohio isn’t afraid to tackle.

Youngstown has been defending their city by the means of special cameras at the locations that draw individuals who fly tip.  These people dump all kinds of trash and supplies such as tires, construction remains, roofing materials, and random piles of garbage.  These cameras catch people in the act of dumping with a clear resolution.  This strategy in particular has been bringing more than a few fly-tippers to the courtroom for prosecution.

Way to go Youngstown!

Vandalism at city owned and maintained parks occurs all too often

Vandalism Costs Parks

Vandalism at city owned and maintained parks occurs all too often. The various aftermath effects incurred from this type of crime delve deeper than what is on the surface. The effect that strikes the hardest is the cost of repair due to vandalism.

Playground equipment can cost as much as $150,000.

Without the proper funds to repair vandalized playground equipment, child safety comes into question and the area where the damage has occurred will have to be closed to the public. Vandalized maintenance equipment can cost thousands of dollars to repair and the park cannot be properly maintained. Due to the already tight budgets allocated to city parks, it can take weeks or months before a park can be reopened to be enjoyed by the public once again.

When vandalism befalls one of our national parks, the consequences can prove disastrous. Fragile ecosystems can be rendered unrepairable from illegal dumping or littering, causing lakes and streams to become polluted. Natural rock formations and caves adorned with much graffiti are beautiful no more. When these gorgeous areas are defaced, it costs everyone, as they are meant to be enjoyed by all. Money spent to repair a vandalized national park would be better spent to improve their natural beauty and a park patron’s experience.

It is important to try to prevent park assets from being vandalized. These assets often include playground equipment, trashcans, restroom facilities, tables and benches, and recreational structures. All these items can cost quite a bit to repair or replace.  Prevention, crime deterrent methods, are better than repair and replace. We must do what is in our power to keep our beautiful parks open for all to enjoy.