Dallas Ordinance Targets Taggers

DALLAS – The Dallas City Council is supporting an ordinance that would allow police to arrest and fine individuals $500 for carrying graffiti tools and spray paint, even if they haven’t starting tagging. If the taggers are minors, their parents would also be held responsible for the damage to public property.

According to police, the ordinance, which would make carrying paint a misdemeanor, would allow authorities to crack down on graffiti artists. If there is probable cause, officers would also be able to search backpacks and trunks.

Civil liberties activists, however, believe such searches could be discriminatory and that racial profiling could result. They do not believe the ordinance would hold up under a court challenge.

Police say they need the ordinance because it is difficult to catch taggers in the act.

In 2004, tagging cost Dallas more than $200,000. San Antonio, Texas, and Phoenix have similar ordinances.

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