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City Council Passes Law Making Property Owners Responsible For Cleaning Up Graffiti

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Matt-Rivers-web-headshot Matt Rivers
Matt Rivers joined CBS 3 and The CW Philly’s Eyewitness News team ...
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By Matt Rivers

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–You didn’t do the tagging, but if it’s on your property, city council says it’s on you to clean it up.

“To change behavior, you have to make some of these bold moves.”

And a law passed today in council aims to do just that.

If a city inspector sees graffiti on your property, you have ten days to clean it up. If you don’t, it’s at least a $100 fine.

The city will clean it, but you’ll also have to pay for that. For the bill’s author, it’s about fighting neighborhood blight.

Councilman Bobby Henon says, “It takes the confidence people have in a neighborhood, it invites crime, it lowers the property values.”

And it happens all over the city.

Anibal Torres and wife Cindy own the Dew Inn restaurant and deal with tagging all the time.

Cindy says, “That we have to go out of our time to clean out the stuff, sometimes it doesn’t come off, it’s frustrating.”

But they’re a little wary of a law they feel might be aimed at business owners instead of criminals.

“It’s a little frustrating that we’re going to get fined on top of the taxes we already pay but it’s something we have to deal with in life.”

Across the street, fourth generation business owner Allen Feldman feels the same way.

“I’d like the neighborhood to look nice myself, most of the people around here would like it to look nicer, but once again if I don’t have the time to get out there right away and do it myself, I don’t want to be fined for it.”

Officials say the law is less aimed at responsible business owners like those two, though and more at shops who’d let graffiti sit untouched for months.

Councilman Henon says, “They see it every day, it’s not like they don’t come in and see it so they should be able to remove the graffiti within ten days.”

Mayor Nutter needs only to sign the bill though and then the law takes effect immediately.

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