(UNDATED) - A new law makes property owners in Indy who are victims of graffiti artists potentially responsible for cleaning up the graffiti.
The law narrowly passed by the City-County Council last summer takes effect today. It gives property owners who are given a notice to get rid of graffiti 30 days to do so, or else imposes a fine of $50.
Opponents say it makes crime victims clean up the mess made by others, but the city has since attempted to provide help.
"The violation letters will not be sent out if there is not also an abatement program option for folks. So this is literally the only violation anyone would ever get that turns around and says 'here are some ways you can take care of it," said Councilman Jeff Miller, who co-sponsored the law.
The city also struck a deal with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to provide free paint and paint supplies to property owners who want to get rid of graffiti.
"There are also clean-up days that KIB does, so it's possible for a property owner to be added to one of those and have the graffiti taken off for them," Miller said. "We did not want to send the message that we were blaming someone or penalizing someone who was the victim of a crime."
Miller believes it is important to take care of all graffiti, even if they can't catch the artist in the act.
"It is a symbol of lawlessness and disorder. When left in a neighborhood, it's kind of one of those broken window-theory things. It attracts trash, it drops the morale of people in a neighborhood. It can even bring in gang graffiti," said Miller.
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