Homeowners could face fines if they don't remove graffiti on their property

Homeowners would have to clean up graffiti on their property or be fined under an ordinance the Lynnwood City Council is considering.

As it’s currently written, the measure would require a property owner to remove the graffiti within five business days of receiving written notification from the city. If they fail to do so, they would face a fine of $100 for the first offense, $300 for the second offense and $500 for each subsequent offense. Each day counts as a separate violation. The city could extend the deadline under special circumstances.

Councilman Mark Smith said he supports the five day requirement. “Study after study after study has shown that effective remediation of graffiti depends on how fast it’s done.”

Smith said there was a period of time when his neighborhood would get hit every weekend.

The ordinance reads, in part, “graffiti is a visual symbol of disorder that demoralizes and erodes feelings of safety in our neighborhoods, contributes to neighborhood decline by inviting crime and leading to a climate of intimidation in our neighborhoods, lowers property value, commerce, community pride and tax revenues.”

If the graffiti isn’t removed, city workers will do it and bill the property owner for the cost.

The Council is expected to vote on the ordinance on Sept. 13.

The Lynnwood Police Department offers rewards for the arrest of graffiti vandals. The Most Wanted Tagger program pays $50 for tipsters who can identify a tagger and another $50 if they make an arrest.

  1. My neighborhood, all residential, is tagged so regularly that we are planning our approach to the inevitable vandalism as we build a new fence on our property. It is really sad That being said, levying fines on victims of crime? Draconian. While I understand that this approach might be effective to prevent some graffiti, it feels wrong that the victim of a crime should bear not just the emotional cost of having their home defaced, but the expense as well. What about those on a fixed income, or who simply cannot afford to keep up with a bunch of taggers with what appears to be unlimited time on their hands?

    Hey, city council, how about redirecting some funding towards a program that allows the victims of vandalism to receive a small need-based grant to remove the graffiti? Or organizing a city-run volunteer group that allows people to gain community service credit as they go into neighborhoods and remove tags?

  2. Sounds like a Big Brother scheme. Let's see howe this thinking weould extend. OK, a guy gets shot. He starts bleeding, all over the sidewalk, which is a visual sign of disorder that demoralizes and erodes feelings of safety in the neighborhood … So let's fine the bleeding bugger until he stops bleeding in public and spoiling the sidewalk.
    Hm, it seems like better law enforcement toward the shooters would be more appropriate. I like the suggestion of the previous comment – a public service volunteer crew to clean up the blood, help the bleeder to the hospital etc.
    Severe penalties to the taggers. Yeah, that's the ticket.

  3. This makes no sense at all, the victim of vandalism is being charged a fee because law enforcement is too busy cracking down on citizens with broken taillights or making u-turns. Priorities, the people that are supposed to be making our neighborhoods safe are targeting low priority crime while the innocent home owner has to foot the bill because of incompetence at city hall. Lets turn these meter maids into tagger maids, then fine the living s#%^% out of those caught in the act of defacing public and private property.

  4. Agree GrevindeD. Fining the victim is absolutely ridiculous. A few years ago I purchased and moved into a new home in Texas. Everything was Leave it to Beaverville until a few months later when graffiti started appearing all over the neighborhood mail boxes and even all over one neighbors boat. After waiting for the city or someone to do something I took it upon myself to start painting the mailboxes every day after work. I wasn’t going to let this happen in my neighborhood especially after just purchasing a new home there. I estimate I spent $1,000 myself until one day being stopped by the postal service asking what I was doing. I explained what I was doing and was going to keep doing it until someone did something about it. I was told by the postal service that it was their responsibility to do this and I was to stop covering the graffiti immediately and start reporting the graffiti. I think the post man regretted this conversation, because he personally was sent to cover it up every time a call was made. I don’t know if this was a local thing they did or whether it was something they do across the country, but fining a victim for some thug with no respect for peoples properties. This is a community problem not a VICTIM’s problem. Why doesn’t the city council utilize their time and breath to better help prevent this problem. Use a small portion of tax money to fund a volunteer program, or utilize individuals doing community service. The city council should hold a town hall meeting to discuss ideas. What’s going to happen to families who own a home but cannot afford to immediately cover the vandalism? What is the city council doing to police this situation besides punishing victims? Maybe the city council should put more money into the Police Department; maybe a gang task force/ vandalism task force? Creating jobs to help your community sounds like a better deal to me. I would rather pay a few more cents in taxes than have to be charged $100 because of some thug (some lazy parents kid in the community….maybe yours).

  5. How do they tell if its graffitti or put there on purpose? If a tagger owns a house and paints it with a tag that is not graffitti it is how they want their home painted. So if the city removes it then the city is vandalizing.

  6. If I owned a home in Lynnwood, I'd simply paint graffiti murals all over my outside walls, tell 'em I liked it that way. Unless all of Lynnwood is a planned community covered by CCRs, zoning restrictions, or building code dictating how houses must be painted, I don't see what the city could do about it.

  7. this is soooooo wrong!!! the property owners are the victims not the perpetrators. arrest the bad guys not the victims!!!

  8. So instead of trying to prevent the tagging in the first place, the victim's are to receive punishment for being vicitimized? That makes TOTAL sense! Yeah! Go Lynnwood!

    I'm going to go tag my fence and then waste taxpayer money suing the city when they try and fine me for my artistic preferences.

    Please note that I'm being completely sarcastic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.