Baltimore County Seeks Tougher Penalties for Graffiti Vandals

… Council will vote March 7 on higher fines …

By Raven L. Hill, The Baltimore Sun

5:02 PM EST, March 1, 2011

Baltimore County needs to do a better job of apprehending graffiti vandals, council members said Tuesday, as they prepare to vote on a bill to increase the fines next week.

With reports on the rise from fed-up business owners and community activists in Perry Hall — who suspect that teenage vandals are the spray-can-wielding culprits — council members Cathy Bevins and David Marks are seeking to increase the fine from $500 to $1,000. The council will vote on the bill March 7.

Baltimore County police said they are investigating the incidents and working with businesses and community associations to address the problem. County code requires owners to promptly remove graffiti or face penalties up to $1,000.

Councilman Kenneth N. Oliver, who represents the Fourth District, questioned the amount of fines collected and the number of vandals apprehended to date, suggesting that raising the fine would not serve as much of a deterrent.

But Bevins said raising the fine would bring the county in line with state penalties.

Council chair John Olszewski Sr. said the higher fine could deter some offenders, but “until we start taking the issue very seriously and catching the individuals who are doing it — give them a stiff penalty or even some jail time — they’re going to continue to do it.”

Copyright © 2011, The Baltimore Sun

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