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City wants statewide crackdown on graffiti

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The city of Phoenix is calling for a statewide crackdown on graffiti.

City officials said graffiti costs taxpayers millions of dollars every year. Some said the problem is literally just covered up and more needs to be done.

Banner Good Samaritan Maintenance Tech Justin Gill saw their sign was tagged Thursday morning.

"It's a nuisance for us," he said.

This isn't the first time Gill brought out the scrub and cleaner to get rid of graffiti on hospital property. Last month, he said he had to paint over one of the building walls because someone tagged it.

"If someone was coming in here to get surgery and sees graffiti all over, it kind of makes it look bad," Gill said.

But his area is only a small part of the problem. City officials said workers and volunteers remove graffiti from around 80,000 sites every year. The hardest hit places are inside the perimeter of 43rd and 59th avenues and McDowell to Camelback roads.

"The city of Phoenix with SRP and APS spend $6 million a year to either paint over or clean off graffiti," Ginnie Anne Sumner said.

She is part of the city's anti-graffiti task force. The group is pushing for state legislation to crack down on offenders.

"I don't think we're being fair to our kids if we don't help them understand that their actions have consequences," she said.

Part of the legislative proposals includes minors paying for graffiti damage and their parents being held liable. Offenders could have their driver's license suspended or taken away. Spray paint would also need to be locked up in every store in the state.

"It's an issue that it's time we start addressing," Sumner said.

The task force will meet Friday at the Capitol lawn 9 to 11 a.m. to talk to people about the issues and how they can help solve the problem.

For more information, call 602-534-4444 or email nsd@phoenix.gov

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