Media Release
Media Release
Press Contact: Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, Public Information Officer, (510) 981-7008

PROPERTY OWNERS GET MORE TIME TO CLEAN
But those ignoring graffiti will still get fined

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, September 26, 2007) - Berkeley property owners who are victims of graffiti vandalism will now get a courtesy notice before the official Notice of Violation and $250 fine, but are still ultimately responsible for keeping their property clean.

“The prompt removal of graffiti, especially in light of the connection to gang activity, is an important part of making Berkeley a clean and safe community,” said City Manager Phil Kamlarz. “All the research shows that getting rid of graffiti quickly is the best way to keep it from coming back. As a community, we need to prevent graffiti, report graffiti, and clean up graffiti.”

The Code Enforcement Division of the City Manager’s Office is responsible for ensuring that private property owners clean graffiti when it appears. Those notices will be sent to property owners beginning the week of October 8, 2007. Property owners who disregard the Courtesy Notice will receive the Notice of Violation. If there is no response to the Notice of Violation, a $250 fine will be levied against the property owner.

Cleaning up graffiti has been a priority for the City for more than a dozen years. Between 1995 and 2002, the City cleaned or covered all graffiti free of charge, whether it was on public or private property. This program eventually became too expensive and a new ordinance was written that aligned Berkeley with other Bay Area cities, making graffiti the responsibility of the property owner. The City is still responsible for cleaning graffiti on public property, including parks and City buildings.

In order to support property owners, City staff members from various departments are working to develop a comprehensive anti-graffiti campaign. This campaign will include community outreach, tips for reducing graffiti vandalism, neighborhood cleanups, and police surveillance programs.

Graffiti removal techniques vary depending on the medium used (paint, markers, crayon) and the type of surface that has been tagged (wood, stucco, glass, metal), so property owners are advised to contact a hardware store, home improvement center or the Internet.

Residents can report the presence of graffiti by calling 510-981-CITY. Graffiti vandalism is a crime, and anyone can report vandalism in progress by calling 510-981-5900.

Download the Courtesy Notice here.

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