Temecula Getting Tougher on Taggers

A minimum restitution rate of $213.38 for graffiti removal is proposed in the city of Temecula.

UPDATE: Temcula city council unanimously approved the graffiti restitution rates during its Nov. 13 meeting. There was no council discussion on the agenda item.


The cost of getting caught tagging in Temecula may soon rise.

Temecula city council is set to vote Tuesday on setting restitution rates associated with graffiti removal costs, according to the meeting agenda.

The city's public works department will ask council members to pass a resolution establishing the rates during a regular council meeting set to begin at 7 p.m. at Temecula Civic Center.

"Whenever graffiti has been removed from public or private property at the expense of the city, each person who placed any of the graffiti, and the custodial parents or guardians of any minor who placed any of the graffiti [...] shall be legally responsible to reimburse the city," the city's municipal code states.

Public works staff recently completed a study into the cost of employee time, materials and equipment when it comes to removing graffiti.

Staff is proposing a minimum restitution rate of $213.38 to be paid by those convicted of graffiti, or by private property owners in the event the markings are removed by city staff.

The minimum rate would apply to areas of 50 square feet or less, according to the drafted resolution. For areas larger than 50 square feet, the city would charge $4.68 for each additional square foot. If extra equipment is required, such as a boom pressure washer, the amount above 50 square feet would increase to $6.29.

"This is especially important when the city is seeking restitution as a condition of probation for someone found guilty of writing graffiti, or when the city seeks reimbursement for the removal of graffiti from private property," wrote public works staff.

The fees were calculated based on current going rates, but the resolution states the city would be able to adjust them as cost impacts fluctuate.

If the city uses a contractor to remove graffiti, it would be entitled to a 15 percent administrative fee based on the cost of the service.

According to the city's municipal code, the city is authorized to remove graffiti from private property if it can be viewed from a public right-of-way. In that instance, the city would need to obtain written consent of the property owner, including a release and waiver.

"The owner shall be charged only for the actual cost incurred by the city to remove the graffiti," the city states.

Property owners may also choose to remove it themselves or pay to have it removed.

Click here for more anti-graffiti information from the city's website.

A pdf of the proposed fees is attached to this article.

MTS209 November 14, 2012 at 05:39 AM
"Staff is proposing a minimum restitution rate of $213.38 to be paid by those convicted of graffiti, or by private property owners in the event the markings are removed by city staff.." Carol may have read it carefully....the first half of the sentence indicates the fine to be paid by the convicted "Graffiti tagger" or guardian. The second half states, OR by private property owners...so it sounds like home owners might get stuck with the expense if I read this correctly.
On the right side November 14, 2012 at 07:03 AM
cens, you need to look again." The owner shall be charged only for actual cost" .
MCS November 14, 2012 at 04:05 PM
The point to this whole story is...... That don't destroy or play with things that DO NOT BELONG TO YOU! I agree with brad, if they choose to behave this way, then their puishment should be a fine and serve community time with their parents. Aforementioned comment by a Ms. Buffolino, is that it always starts out as a joke and funny and taken lightly, but ends up a nightmarefor the homeowner in the end. Would you like it if these kids tagged you on a weekly basis? Not fun at all. You will change your outlook on that behavior if it happens enough times to you personally.. Just saying......
Temecula Jay November 15, 2012 at 02:17 AM
My opinion is that the fines should be much higher than the actual removal costs so that the extra money can be used instead of charging home and business owners the cost of removal in cases when the tagger isn't caught. Anyone convicted of tagging should be forced to perform community service as a deterrant.
Michael November 21, 2012 at 05:06 AM
Our high schools must not do enough in Art Class. Great Oak has sidewalk art a couple times a year just like graffitti. Can't the gangs just join high school for one day and do the sidewalk chalk. It's just like graffitti except you won't get in trouble.


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