Changes made to strengthen El Centro graffiti ordinance

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EL CENTRO – The city of El Centro has modified the policies of the city’s graffiti ordinance, making it easier for law enforcement to enforce the law by holding parents responsible for their children’s actions.

The ordinance, first put into effect January 2012, is meant to make it easier for law enforcement to enforce graffiti laws, forcing violators to comply and be accountable for their actions.

The ordinance specifies that parents of juvenile violators are jointly responsible for the damage done by their children, allowing the city to charge parents or legal guardians of juvenile violators a maximum amount of $40,600 for each offense. Parents or legal guardians will also be required to perform community service with at least half of the hours to be served with their minors.

Norma Villacana of the El Centro Economic Development Department said the ordinance will give law enforcement additional tools to enforce laws and catch those who deface the city with graffiti and tags.

She said the city of El Centro feels the image of graffiti brings to mind a dirty place, something city officials do not wish for the area and not the first impression it wants to give to visitors.

“It’s our city, and we want to have a clean community,” said Villacana. “We want El Centro to look good.”

Notices about the ordinance have been sent out to El Centro schools to be distributed to students when they register or on the first day of class.

The city of El Centro will pay a reward of $150 for information leading to the arrest of violators of the graffiti ordinance.

For more information, contact the City of El Centro Economic Development Department at
(760) 337-4543.