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City law requires businesses to lock up tools of the graffiti trade

March 20, 2011 | 10:17 am

Costa Mesa police have teamed up with the chamber of commerce to stop vandalism before it starts. Under a beefed-up anti-graffiti ordinance that the the City Council passed in October and went into effect in January, businesses have to limit access to popular tools of the graffiti trade: spray paint, marking pens and etching tools, among others.

According to the ordinance, spray paint cans must be locked up so that only store employees can take them off shelves and only people 18 or older can buy them. Etching tools -- anything with a sharp edge that can carve, according to police -- have to be monitored around the clock while the store is open. Security cameras can cover that requirement, said police Officer Jason Chamness.

Police point to Ganahl Lumber on Bristol Street as a shining example of how to limit access to products without hurting the bottom line.

"It's not a big deal, there's no one around that wants graffiti," said Brad Satterfield, the store's general manager. "Customers understand why we're doing it and what we do."

To taggers, Ganahl Lumber is a virtual Fort Knox. Not only is spray paint locked up, so are construction marking pens and etching tools such as tile cutters.

Read the full story: Crackdown on graffiti starts with businesses


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-- Joseph Serna, Daily Pilot / Times Community News