Updated 08/24/2012 06:41 PM
Troy’s anti-graffiti initiative
The Collar City is launching a new initiative to go hard on graffiti. Our Lori Chung has more on why officials say the unsightly tags mean more trouble than many realize.
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TROY, N.Y. -- "Actually, our whole alley, a number of us were tagged," said Troy City Council President Lynn Kopka.
It's been cleaned up but you can still see traces of the graffiti sprayed on the back wall of Lynn Kopka's Troy home earlier this summer. The city council president says in her case, juvenile mischief to blame, but it's still the kind officials are preparing to crack down on.
Kopka said, "The police were looking for a way to curb the behavior, get the graffiti off right away and have a database where they could start tracking."
A new ordinance passed by the council will require cops to document graffiti when it's found and put property owners on notice to cover it up. Sure it's unsightly, but Mayor Lou Rosamilia says acting quickly is also about preserving safety.
"We're trying to eliminate the crime factor, we're trying to eliminate any type of inciting of groups or gangs, a message that may be left there," Rosamilia said.
Covert messages that can turn into bigger problems for police. Rosamilia says a sergeant with field intelligence experience has been working to decode the tags before they turn into trouble. While there's a $10 a day fine for failing to remove graffiti, officials say they're not out to punish property owners.
"If there's gangs here, we want to know where they are, what they're tagging, where they're located," Kopka said.
If owners can't cover up those the tags or don't want to deal with the hassle, officials say they city will front what they say it a minimal cost and send a public works crew out to do it. The ordinance faces a full vote by the council next month.