[HISTORY: Adopted by the Municipal Council of the Borough of Hawthorne 5-15-1996 by Ord. No. 1645 (Ch. 113 of the 1989 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Peace and good order — See Ch. 357.
The Municipal Council of the Borough of Hawthorne finds and declares that the defacing of public and private property by what is commonly referred to as "graffiti" does contribute to the degradation of blight of neighborhoods within the Borough of Hawthorne and that graffiti upon private and public property constitutes a nuisance which endangers the public health, safety and welfare. Left uncontrolled, such graffiti encourages additional graffiti and results in blighting conditions and a reduction in property values. The Municipal Council further finds and declares that the prompt removal of graffiti is the responsibility of all property owners.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any writing, drawing, marking, symbol or the like placed upon any real or personal property, whether private property or public property, by using paint, spray paint, aerosol paint, markers, chalk, dyes or any other substance or method without the consent or authorization of the owner of the property. "Graffiti" shall not mean any words, letters, symbols, logos or numbers which convey information, an announcement, a direction or an advertisement which are in compliance with the regulations concerning signs as set forth in Chapter 540, Zoning, Article XVIII, Signs, of the Code of the Borough of Hawthorne or the occasional and temporary marking of public streets or sidewalks with chalk for traditional children's games.
- Any person under the age of 18 years.
- WIDE FELT-TIP MARKERS
- A marking pen or instrument of which the surface used for writing or marking purposes is equal to or greater than 1/8 of an inch.
No person shall write, draw, paint, print or place with ink, paint, chalk or other substance, graffiti or other marking, whether obscene or not and whether intended to offend or not, on the real or personal property of another, whether such property is publicly or privately owned, unless the owner of said property shall have, prior to the drawing, writing, printing or placing of such markings, specially consented to the same. Nor shall any person willfully or maliciously damage, deface or vandalize the property of another by inscribing or placing graffiti or any other markings on a public or private street, or on public or private property, whether real or personal; provided, however, that nothing contained herein shall prohibit the occasional and temporary marking of public streets or sidewalks with chalk for traditional children's games.
No person shall knowingly sell or offer for sale to the general public any spray paint or other pigmented substance in an aerosol or similar spray container, or any wide felt-tip marker as defined above, unless a sign is exhibited, either where the product is displayed or where it is paid for, warning that in the Borough of Hawthorne a conviction for an act of graffiti carries a minimum mandatory fine of $100 for a first offense and a minimum mandatory fine of $500 for each subsequent offense.
It shall be unlawful for any person to possess a spray paint container, liquid paint in cans, a wide felt-tip marker or any other pigmented substance in an aerosol or similar spray container, in any public building or upon any public facility or private property, with the intent to use the same to deface said building, facility or property. A person who possesses a spray paint container, liquid paint in cans, a wide felt-tip marker or any other pigmented substance, in an aerosol or similar spray container in any public building, or upon any public facility or private property, with no legitimate or lawful purpose therefor, shall be presumed to have possessed the same with the intention of using such container, marker, can or paint to deface said building, facility or property, said presumption being rebuttable by the possessor demonstrating a lawful, legitimate use for the container, marker can or paint.
It shall be unlawful for any parent, legal guardian or other person having custody or in the presence of any minor child under the age of 18 years to assist, aid, abet, allow, permit or encourage said minor to violate the provisions of this chapter as defined herein either by words, overt act or by failing to act or by lack of supervision and control over said minor child.
Owners of real property within the Borough of Hawthorne shall be required to remove graffiti from all buildings and structures upon their property within 30 days of receipt of a notice thereof from the Building Department or any other agency of the Borough of Hawthorne. Failure to remove said graffiti within said thirty-day period shall subject the owner to the penalty provisions set forth in this chapter. Each day shall constitute a separate offense subject to a separate penalty.
For a first offense involving the actual defacing or marring of any private or public property, a person having been convicted of the same shall be subject to a minimum mandatory fine of not less than $100, and for a second and subsequent violation involving the actual defacing or marring of any private or public property, said person shall be convicted to a minimum mandatory fine of not less than $500.
In addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, any person convicted of a violation of this chapter shall be required to pay to the owner of the damaged property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the act of graffiti or, as part of such person's community service, to remove the graffiti from the property.
[Amended 11-7-2007 by Ord. No. 1917-07]
Except as herein provided to the contrary, the violation of any provision of this chapter shall be punished by one or more of the following: