[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Wallington 4-19-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-11. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The use of broad-tipped pens, paint, spray cans, pencils, pens, crayons or other marking devices to write graffiti on the walls or other spaces of public or private buildings, vehicles, areas or facilities causes serious defacement of such buildings, vehicles and areas, public and private, and contributes to the deterioration of property values. Such practices exhibit a contempt for the property rights of private citizens as well as governmental authority, contribute to an erosion of respect for authority and depreciate the quality of life in the community.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Includes any unsightly, offensive or defacing writings or other written or pictorial matter by any method or device and of any content which contributes to the defacement of real or personal property and which contributes to the ugliness and unsightliness of its object, space, area or community and which is detrimental to the attractiveness, neatness and good order of the municipality.
The writing or placing of any written or pictorial graffiti, writings, pictures or other markings whatsoever by any defacing whatsoever, including but not limited to pens, spray cans, pencils, crayons, paint, chalk or any other method or substance whatsoever, on any public or private real or personal property, or a mixture of both, without the express knowledge and consent of the owner is prohibited.
The marking or defacing of any property, real, personal or mixed, by an owner thereof in such a manner as to constitute graffiti is likewise prohibited.
Any parent, guardian or custodian in charge of a minor who is convicted of violating this chapter who has neglected to properly supervise such minor shall be presumed to have aided and assisted, allowed and/or permitted said minor in violation of the provisions of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any person who applied graffiti not to remove the same within 24 hours of its application. Parents shall be responsible for the costs of removal when the graffiti has been applied by his and/or her minor child. To the extent otherwise permissible by law, should community service be ordered by the Municipal Court of the Borough of Wallington or the Family Part of the Superior Court, the parents and child shall both be involved in said community service project.
In the enforcement of this chapter, all persons directly or indirectly involved shall be as equally responsible and guilty as the individual who actually defaces the object or area. Any individuals who encourage and participate in such activity, as well as individuals who make available the tools, writing materials, ladders, lookouts, material or assistance, or who knowingly supply funds to acquire materials for such purposes, including parents and friends, shall be equally guilty and liable for punishment under this chapter.
It shall be the duty and responsibility of all property owners to keep the exterior of their premises and structures free of all nuisances and hazards, including, without being limited to, all graffiti on the outside of their premises. Any property owner upon whose property graffiti is placed shall be required to remove the same within 30 days of having received written notice from the Borough of Wallington of said condition and the requirement of removal. The failure to cause said removal shall be deemed a violation of this chapter.
A violation of the within provision shall only be deemed to exist upon the occurrence of the following:
The owner of the property is provided with written notice from the Borough in accordance with the preceding subsection; and
The owner fails to remove the graffiti after having received such notice; or
The owner fails to provide the Code Enforcement Officer access to the property for the purpose of removal in accordance with this chapter.
Subject to the provisions of this chapter, the Code Enforcement Officer and/or Borough Administrator is hereby authorized to hire an independent contractor, if necessary, to remove graffiti from publicly and privately owned structures. Prior to causing the removal, however, the Code Enforcement Officer shall make a finding that a graffiti or other inscribed material is obnoxious and comes within the intent and purpose of this chapter. The property owner shall be provided with the opportunity to first remove the same. The property owner shall be required to grant the Borough consent to remove the graffiti and consent to enter upon the premises in order to complete the removal.
Notwithstanding anything set forth herein to the contrary, the property owner, if he or she fails to remove the graffiti voluntarily, shall be responsible for all reasonable costs incurred by the Borough of Wallington for such removal, including the manpower costs to be calculated by the Borough Administrator, whose determination as to the cost shall be deemed final.
The Borough Council hereby authorizes the Borough Administrator to provide for a reward in the amount of $500 leading to the identification, apprehension and conviction of any person who applies graffiti within the Borough of Wallington.
The provisions of this chapter may be enforced by the Police Department, the Department of Public Works, the Board of Health, the Property Maintenance Department or the Building Department of the Borough of Wallington.
Any person found guilty of violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished as provided in Chapter 1, Article II, General penalty, of this Code, in the discretion of the Municipal Court Judge. A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day on which a violation occurs.
In addition, the Municipal Court Judge is urged to require appropriate corrective measures and restitution by requiring the offender to remove the graffiti under the supervision of such municipal employee or other person designated by the Court.
Any minor child under the age of 18 years shall be brought before the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part, and shall be subject to the penalties provided by said Court.
This chapter shall not be construed to prohibit easily removable chalk markings on public sidewalks or streets in connection with traditional children's games or any lawful business or public purpose or activity.