ORANGE : City to Start Reward Program on Graffiti

The City Council has voted to offer rewards to residents who help catch graffiti vandals.

Residents whose information leads to the conviction of graffiti vandals defacing property are eligible for rewards of $500, $250 or $100. The council, which approved the program in a 5-0 vote last week, allocated $5,000 for the new program from its unappropriated reserves fund.

"We need help from people in the community in apprehending people who spray graffiti on public and private property," Mayor Gene Beyer said. "It's a step in the right direction and this resolution should help keep our city clean."

Under the new measure, the city will pay $500 for information in cases involving damage that totals $5,001 or more. If the property damage is less than $5,000, the tipster will receive $250. Residents will earn $100 if a suspect is enrolled in a rehabilitation program instead of having formal criminal charges filed against him.

The resolution was developed partly because residents who have helped police catch graffiti artists in the past have asked for rewards. Residents may choose to remain anonymous and still receive cash awards.

Claims for payment must be made to the Police Department within 60 days of a conviction. The Police Department has final discretion in determining whether to pay a reward and to whom the payment shall be made.

Lawmakers say the new measure will strengthen a graffiti removal program the council passed in April, 1993.

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