New ordinance to seek increased penalties and damages for vandalism, including graffiti

May 5, 2019

NEEDLES — City attorneys will draw up a new ordinance attacking vandalism in the city, emphasizing imposition of fines, cleanup under mandated community service and financial liability for parents of youngsters committing crimes of destruction.

A four-member quorum of the city council voted unanimously to ask their legal representation to work on the measure during council’s second meeting in April.

While the vote was new the problem isn’t and neither is the council’s attention to it. City Manager Rick Daniels told those present there have been council discussions over the last six months about the cost of addressing the problem. There are two forms, he said: damage to public property such as to playground equipment and the local skate park; and vandalism to private property. Graffiti is a large and highly-visible component of each but vandalism can take other forms; Daniels cited an instance where toilets in public restrooms were jammed which proved expensive to fix.

Current city policy is to immediately correct the problems, he said, report them to law enforcement and seek prosecution.

The new ordinance will go beyond that, seeking to raise penalties and to collect damages from offenders or offenders’ parents, including forcing either to perform the manual labor requisite to repair the damage.

The new ordinance is to come before the council for comments and approval in a future session.