Exercising Parental Authority
Parents need to discuss with their children the importance of respect for property and the effects graffiti has on the victim, vandal, and the vandal's family. San Diego Municipal Code (SDMC) § 54.0411 (page 5) makes parents civilly liable for up to $25,000 of property damage caused by their minor children. SDMC Sec. 54.0413(e) makes parents reimburse the City for any reward that is paid for information leading to the arrest and conviction of their minor child for graffiti crimes. Furthermore, California Penal Code Sec. 594(d) makes a parent liable for any fine that his or her minor child is unable to pay. The amount of the fines depends on the amount of the damage; the maximum fine is $50,000. Thus, parents have a strong incentive to make sure their children are not graffiti taggers. The signs of a graffiti tagger include: tags on clothes or other personal possessions; use of tagger jargon; frequent use of baggy jackets and small backpacks that can hide spray cans; paint or dye on hands and under fingernails; and used graffiti devices. If you think that your child might be involved with graffiti, call the Graffiti Control Hotline at (619) 525-8522 for further information and organizations to call for assistance.