Chapter 11.14


11.14.010    Findings, purpose and intent.

11.14.020    Definitions.

11.14.030    Prohibition of graffiti-related activities.

11.14.040    Detection provisions.

11.14.050    Removal provisions.

11.14.060    Penalties for violation.

11.14.010 Findings, purpose and intent.

The city council declares graffiti on public and private property to be a public nuisance that encourages criminal activity, causes blight in city neighborhoods and depreciates the value of surrounding property. This chapter is intended to protect against such nuisance by prohibiting activities that facilitate graffiti, establishing a system to detect graffiti, and providing for the prompt removal of graffiti as it arises. (Ord. 401 § 1, 2008; Ord. 168, 1992)

11.14.020 Definitions.

In carrying out the purposes and intent of this chapter, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings ascribed to them:

A. “Graffiti” means and includes any unauthorized inscription, word, figure or design that is marked, etched, scratched, drawn, painted, pasted or otherwise affixed to any surface regardless of the nature of the material of that surface.

B. “Graffiti implement” means an aerosol paint container, a felt-tip marker, a paint stick, etching product, paintball marker, or implement.

C. “Aerosol paint container” means any aerosol container, regardless of the material from which it was made, which is adapted or made for the purpose of spraying paint or other substance capable of defacing property.

D. “Felt-tip marker” means any indelible marker or similar implement with a tip which, at its broadest width, is greater than one-eighth inch, containing an ink that is not water soluble.

E. “Paint stick” means a device containing a solid form of paint, chalk, wax, epoxy or other similar substance, by pressure and upon application leaving a mark at least one-eighth of an inch in width, visible from a distance of 20 feet, and not water soluble.

F. “Etching product or implement” means any caustic cream, gel, liquid, solution, or implement capable of defacing hard surfaces by means of a chemical action or physical pressure.

G. A “paintball marker,” also known as a “paintball gun,” makes use of an expanding gas such as carbon dioxide, compressed air or nitrogen dioxide to propel paintballs through the barrel. (Ord. 401 § 1, 2008; Ord. 384 § 1(A), 2008; Ord. 314 §§ 1, 2, 2003; Ord. 168, 1992)

11.14.030 Prohibition of graffiti-related activities.

No person shall apply graffiti to any surface, illegally possess graffiti implements in designated areas, illegally furnish graffiti implements to any minors or allow the improper sale of storage of graffiti implements.

A. Applying Graffiti.

1. Applying Graffiti. It is unlawful to apply graffiti on any surface of any public or privately owned structures located on public or privately owned real property within the city. Violations of this subsection shall be subject to civil and administrative enforcement in accordance with Chapter 1.16 SBMC.

2. Any person who applies graffiti as described in the above subsection shall have the duty to remove the graffiti within 24 hours of notice by the city or the private property owner involved. Parents or legal guardians of minors guilty of applying graffiti under this section shall be personally responsible for removal of the graffiti or for payment of costs of removal thereof. Failure to remove graffiti under this section shall be punishable to the full extent of the law.

B. Possession of Graffiti Implements in Designated Areas.

1. Possession of Graffiti Implement by Minors. It is unlawful for any person under the age of 18 years to have in his or her possession any graffiti implement while upon public property or upon private property without the consent of the owner of such private property, whose consent is given in advance, and whose consent shall be given as to the person’s presence while in the possession of a graffiti implement.

a. School Exception for Felt-Tip Marker. The foregoing provision shall not apply while the person is attending, or traveling to or from a school at which the person is enrolled, if the person is participating in a class at school which has the need to use a felt-tip marker.

2. Possession in Designated Public Places. It is unlawful for any person to have in his or her possession any graffiti implement while doing any activity in any public park, playground, swim pool, recreational facility, or near an underpass, bridge abutment, storm drain or other similar types of infrastructure not normally used by the public except as may be authorized by the city.

C. Display for Sale.

1. No person shall sell, give or otherwise furnish any minor with any graffiti implement.

2. It is unlawful to display glass etching products except in a completely enclosed cabinet or other storage device that is permanently affixed to a building or building structure and remains securely locked at all times, except when accessed by seller’s employees or other authorized persons.

3. It is unlawful to display all other graffiti implements for sale except for the following:

a. In a completely enclosed cabinet or other storage device that is permanently affixed to a building or building structure and remains securely locked at all times, except when accessed by seller’s employees or other authorized persons.

b. In an enclosed area behind a sales or service counter from which the public is precluded from entry. (Ord. 401 § 1, 2008; Ord. 384 § 1(B), 2008; Ord. 314 § 3, 2003; Ord. 168, 1992)

11.14.040 Detection provisions.

The city encourages residents to help detect and identify graffiti within the city and authorizes a reward for help in enforcing this chapter.

A. Reward Offer. The city offers a reward of up to $1,000 per incident for information leading to the recommendation to the district attorney for the prosecution, pursuit of criminal prosecution and/or conviction, a sustained petition within the meaning of Welfare and Institutions Code Section 602, or confession of any person for applying graffiti to any surface on property within the city. Such information that leads to a recommendation for prosecution shall result in up to a $250.00 reward; if said information results in the pressing of charges and criminal prosecution another $250.00 in reward is available; and if the suspect(s) is/are convicted or confesses another $500.00 in reward is available, for a potential total $1,000. For the purposes of this chapter, diversion of the offending violator to a community service program, or a plea bargain to a lesser offense, shall constitute a conviction.

B. Claims for Rewards.

1. Claims for rewards under this chapter shall be filed with the city. Each claim shall specifically identify the date, location and kind of property damaged or destroyed, and the name(s) of the person(s) who is/are suspected of engaging in graffiti activities.

2. The city manager may exercise his or her discretion, within the limits described in subsection A of this section, to determine whether an award should be given and how much money should be paid based on the circumstances of each claim.

C. Liability for Payment of Reward. The person committing the graffiti, or the custodial parent or legal guardian if the person committing the graffiti is an unemancipated minor, shall be liable for the reward paid pursuant to this section.

D. Mandatory Community Service by Minor as Punishment. Any minor determined to be a ward of the court under Welfare and Institutions Code Section 602, as a result of committing an offense in the city, including violation of this graffiti chapter, shall be required, at the city’s option, to perform community service, including graffiti removal service, of not less than six hours and not more than 80 hours. (Ord. 401 § 1, 2008; Ord. 384 § 1(C), 2008; Ord. 232 § 1, 1997; Ord. 168, 1992)

11.14.050 Removal provisions.

The city has provided for and requires removal of graffiti by property owners and by the city through use of public funds.

A. It shall be unlawful for any owner of private property, or the person responsible for the control or maintenance thereof, that has been defaced by graffiti to permit the graffiti to remain for more than three days after receiving notice from the city to remove the graffiti. Notwithstanding SBMC 11.14.060, violations of this subsection may not be prosecuted criminally.

B. The city may remove graffiti from public or private property located within the city; provided, that the owner of the property, or the person responsible for the control or maintenance thereof, has given consent and provided the city with a waiver and release of liability and provides the city with materials to accomplish the necessary removal of the graffiti.

C. The city is authorized to expend public funds to remove graffiti from private and public property located within the city. Such expenditures shall be limited to the removal of graffiti and not the painting or repair of a more extensive area. Expenditure of city funds to remove graffiti from private property shall be conditioned on the consent of the owner, or the person responsible for control or maintenance of the property, to pay the actual, reasonable cost of removal. (Ord. 401 § 1, 2008; Ord. 384 § 1(D), 2008; Ord. 168, 1992)

11.14.060 Penalties for violation.

Any and all violations of this chapter shall be punishable as an infraction or a misdemeanor, at the discretion of the city attorney, to the fullest extent allowed under law. Nothing in this section shall limit or prohibit any other penalty or enforcement provision under state law or this code. (Ord. 401 § 1, 2008; Ord. 384 § 1(E), 2008; Ord. 168, 1992)