Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is asking for increased penalties for those caught defacing property with graffiti. Emanuel will ask the City Council on Wednesday to increase the fines for graffiti.
The plan will raise the fine for first time offenses to $1,500, double the current $750 and increase the fines for second time offenders to $2,500 or higher. Fines for these types of offenses have remained mostly the same for the past 10 years.
This proposal for the increased fines comes on the heels of an announcement by the Chicago Transit Authority that additional security cameras on its property has resulted in more arrests. CTA president Forrest Claypool attributed the success to following through with prosecution of the offenders and have arresting officers go to court.
“Tag CTA property and you will pay the price,” Claypool said at a press conference June 14th.
Some Chicago residents hope the increased fines will help deter the acts from being committed in the first place.
“I’m sure most people couldn’t afford a fine that high so I bet it will make them think twice,” said David Michael, 20, a DePaul University student.
Heather Freitag said she thinks it’s a good idea to raise the fines.
“Graffiti looks bad and has a negative impact on the neighborhood,” said Freitag, 63, a retired commodities trader from Lincoln Park.
According to Chicago Police Department Crime data there were five reported cases of criminal defacement in the 32nd ward, which encompasses Lincoln Park, during the first two weeks of June.
“It’s just stupid and stupid people should have to pay the price,” Freitag said.
The Mayor presents his plan to the city council Wednesday. Emanuel’s office and the CTA did not immediately respond to request for comment.