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Mar 6, 2014 7:44 PM by John Patrick

Victims of vandalism may be fined

TUCSON - Victims of vandalism may be slapped with fines by the City of Tucson.

Graffiti is a constant problem in Tucson neighborhoods and it costs the city in excess of $1 million a year. As one west side resident found out if your property gets tagged the City can tag you with the bill to clean it up.

David Galaz, a former city employee, had his wall vandalized twice in three weeks. The first time he called the graffiti abatement line the city came out and cleaned it up right away.

The next call landed him a notice of violation. The violation states that he has ten days to clean up the graffiti or a face a possible re-inspection fee of $75.

"I said wait a minute, I didn't do the graffiti it was done to me," explains Galaz.

Part of the Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance that the city is enforcing more often, the failure to cover graffiti on your property could land you a maximum $2,500 fine on top of the cleanup cost.

Galaz says, "I am a victim of not only the person who graffitied my wall but by the City of Tucson."

Councilwoman Karin Uhlich says graffiti is an ugly problem that Tucson is trying to get a handle on.

"Indirectly through some new rules that have been put in place there may be some curtailment of the City's efforts and we can't afford that," explains Uhlich.

With these new rules being enforced she says the city needs to come up with a way balance abatement efforts while making sure they don't put too much stress on the victim's shoulders.

Uhlich says, "We have to be real strategic and go after the hardest hit areas more aggressively and not let the burden fall too heavily on the victims of the crime."

Tucson City Council has graffiti abatement on their agenda for their next meeting scheduled for the middle of March.

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