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Grassroots group looking to introduce new legislation to tackle graffiti

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Grassroots group looking to introduce new legislation to tackle graffiti

CREATED Jan. 11, 2013

Reporter: Alexis Fernandez

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - You don't have to look far to run into graffiti around town. And once it's cleaned up, it's back again.

It's a cycle one group of Arizonans wants to wipe out with the help of residents like Evelyn Shapiro, of Phoenix.

"It's just not Phoenix, it's all the large city, small cities, country towns. People really have a problem with this," said Shapiro.

And now, Shapiro along with dozens of other Arizonans are taking matters into their own hands -- planning to introduce new legislation supported by Phoenix's Anti-Graffiti Task Force.

"What we would like to do is stop it initially so that those first offenders receive some type of consequences, so they understand there are consequences for their actions, and we can stop it from becoming a criminal activity," said Ginnie Sumner, a member of the task force.

The bill creates harsher punishments for minors and adults caught tagging across the state.

Minors would be forced to pay full restitution - and if they can't, their parents would be held liable for up to $10,000.

Adults convicted could also have their driver's license suspended or revoked.

Nine On Your Side's Alexis Fernandez asked: Why is this year going to be different than years prior when this type of legislation was introduced?

"Third of legislators are new and so we're very hopeful with new people that are hearing this issue. It's going to make a difference this time around," said John Wayne Gonzales, the intergovernmental affairs liaison for the City of Phoenix.

Today, the group met at the Arizona State Capitol, where people signed up to comment on the bill once it's heard by the legislature.

"By taking care of the graffiti, that's the very first step in defending ourselves against other crimes in the neighborhood," said William Hogans, Neighborhood Program Coordinator for the City of Phoenix.

If you would like to register to comment on the bill, click here , include your name, address and phone number.