[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Penns Grove 8-6-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-8 (Ch. 115 of the 1986 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
It has been determined that the use of spray paints and ink markers and other methods to deface public and private property in the Borough of Penns Grove has increased significantly in the past years. Such defacing of property causes a decline in property values and encourages racism and prejudice which can lead to violent criminal acts. The existing laws have failed to deter offenses within the Borough of Penns Grove requiring specific prohibitions of such acts.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings as indicated:
- Any unauthorized inscription, word, figure, painting or other defacement that is written, marked, etched, scratched, sprayed, drawn, painted or engraved on or otherwise affixed to any surface of public or private property by any paint, spray paint, markers, chalk, dyes or any other substance or method which defaces, obliterates, covers, alters, damages, mars or destroys public or private property. It shall not include the occasional and temporary marking on public streets or sidewalks with chalk for traditional children's games.
- INDELIBLE MARKER
- Any felt-tip marker, china marker or similar device or implement that contains a fluid which is not water-soluble and which may have a flat or angled writing surface.
- Any person under the age of 18 years.
- SPRAY PAINT CONTAINER
- Any container or other device which contains paint or other pigmented substance, which is intended to expel the paint or pigment without the aid of additional devices or substances, including an aerosol spray paint, as it is commonly known.
No person shall write, draw, paint, print or place, with ink, chalk or other substance, graffiti or other markings, whether obscene or not and whether intended to offend or not, on the real or personal property of another, whether such property is publicly or privately owned, unless the owner of said property shall have, prior to the drawing, writing, printing or placing of such markings, specifically consented to the same. Nor shall any person willfully or maliciously damage, deface, or vandalize the property of another by inscribing or placing graffiti or any other markings on a public or private street, or on public or private property, whether real or personal.
Possession. No person shall possess a spray paint container or indelible marker in any public building, public property or private property with the intent to use the same to deface a building or property absent permission to properly utilize the same.
Minors. It shall be illegal for any minor to possess any spray paint container. Such spray paint container is hereby declared to be contraband, and any police officer is authorized to seize the same from any individual under the age of 18 in whose possession such spray paint is found.
Juvenile offenders. If, at the time of the offense charged, any person apprehended for a violation of this chapter shall be under the age of 18 years, the Salem County Superior Court, Family Division, shall have exclusive jurisdiction of the trial of such minor or minors, and such minor or minors shall be surrendered to that Court, and the case, including all papers, reports, and process thereto, shall be transferred to said Court pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:4-11.
[Amended 7-5-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-5]
Any person who violates the provisions of § 272-3 shall, upon conviction, be subject to a minimum fine of $100, which said fine shall not exceed $2,000 and/or imprisonment not exceeding 90 days, and as an additional condition of sentencing, the Judge shall impose a requirement to restore the property which has been damaged as a result of the graffiti to the owner's satisfaction or make monetary restitution to the owner for the cost of cleanup incurred by said owner.
[Amended 7-5-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-5]
Written notice. Whenever the Chief of Police and/or his/her designee determines that there has been a violation of this chapter and that it is necessary for an owner to remove graffiti from a building, structure or exposed surface, the owner shall be provided written notice of the order to remove graffiti. The order shall afford the owner the opportunity to remove the graffiti within 90 days from the date that written notice of the order is sent to the owner. The Department of Transportation, however, shall be afforded 120 days from the date that written notice of the order is sent to remove graffiti from property owned by the Department of Transportation. The written notice shall contain a form to be utilized by the property owner to inform the Borough that the graffiti has been removed.
Method of service. Written notice of the order to remove the graffiti shall be delivered to the owner by certified and regular mail.
An owner who has been ordered to remove graffiti shall respond to the Borough by personal delivery or by certified mail of:
If the owner does not receive a written withdrawal of the order within the date of any objection, the order shall be deemed final. An owner that objects to an order to remove graffiti may institute an action challenging the order before a court of competent jurisdiction within 60 days of the date of the order to remove graffiti.
If a property owner fails to undertake the removal of graffiti within 90 days of the date of the order to remove graffiti, or, in the case of the Department of Transportation, within 120 days of the date of the order to remove graffiti, unless an action challenging the order to remove graffiti is still pending, the Borough shall have the right but not the obligation to remove the graffiti from that property and present the owner with a detailed itemization of the costs incurred by the Borough, by certified and regular mail, for reimbursement by the owner. The costs of removing the graffiti shall be assessed against the property as a municipal lien, and the Borough may enforce the payment of such assessment, together with interest, as a debt of the owner of the property and shall have the right to institute an action at law for the collection of the costs of removal of the graffiti. The Superior Court shall have jurisdiction over any such action.
No person shall sell or offer for sale, transfer or offer to transfer any spray paint container or indelible marker unless such spray paint container or indelible marker is held for sale or transfer in an enclosed device which is constructed to prevent removal of the merchandise except by authorized attendants or is stored, out of sight, in such a way as to prevent free access to the public.
No person or merchant shall sell or offer for sale or transfer any spray paint container or indelible marker to a minor, unless the minor is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at the time of the purchase of or transfer of property to said minor.
No person or merchant of any spray paint container or any hobby kit or similar kits of any kind containing spray paint containers shall sell, exchange or transfer in any manner said items to any individual without requiring said individual to produce proper identification.
Fraudulent identification. No minor shall, at the time of purchase of any spray paint container or indelible marker, furnish fraudulent evidence of majority, including but not limited to a motor vehicle operator's license, a registration certificate under the Federal Selective Service Act, an identification card issued to a member of the armed forces or any document issued by a federal, state, county or municipal government.
Any person or merchant who sells any spray paint container or any hobby kit or similar kits of any kind containing spray paint containers shall keep a record of all purchases or exchanges of these items. The record shall contain the full name and address of each person who purchases or exchanges spray paint or hobby kits or similar kits containing spray paint and the date of purchase and, in addition, shall contain a description of the spray paint container, including quantity, brand name and color.
Any person or merchant required to keep record of purchases or exchanges of spray paint containers pursuant to this section shall maintain such records for a minimum period of one year from the date of purchase or exchange and shall, upon reasonable request, allow the inspection of such records by any law enforcement officer.
Posting of notice. Any person who owns, manages or operates a place of business within the Borough of Penns Grove wherein aerosol or spray containers of paint or indelible markers capable of defacing property are sold shall conspicuously post a sign stating: "It is a crime to sell or otherwise convey aerosol spray paint or wide tipped indelible markers to persons under 18 years of age in the Borough of Penns Grove and is punishable by fine up to $2,000 and imprisonment not to exceed 90 days."
Violations and penalties. Any person who violates any provision of this section, either by failure to maintain said records as required, failure to post notice, or by assuming a false identity or providing false identification documents in connection with the purchase of spray paint containers, shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not to exceed $2,000 or by imprisonment not to exceed 90 days or by a period of community service not to exceed 90 days, or any combination thereof. A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues.
[Amended 7-5-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-5]