Weird LawsIt's weird law Friday again and today we're going to talk about something that is a problem for property owners: graffiti. For one, it is illegal for a graffiti artist to deface another person's property. However, even though authorities strive to arrest and criminally punish those who deface property with graffiti, often the offensive art remains long after the incident and/or the property owner or local municipality is on the hook to pay for the cleanup. In Arizona, though, graffiti taggers can now be ordered by the courts to fund the cost of cleanup, including paint, labor and the purchase of other necessary supplies.

Law Signed by Arizona Governor in April

The new Arizona legislation was signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer in April, and it is intended to provide towns and cities with a new means of fighting the war against graffiti. According to a deputy municipal court administrator, the law provides that labor costs can be included in fines levied against those found guilty of graffiti. Another legislator said that the law will give Arizona cities the power to recoup the money they have to spend on paint, supplies and what can sometimes be 10 hours of labor costs necessary to complete the cleanup operation. Private property is also covered by the law.

Another legislator mentioned how graffiti is often a signal of gang activity, and no one wants to have it in the areas where they live and work. According to the city of Mesa, Arizona, statistics under previous laws showed that only four out of 25 prosecuted graffiti cases in 2012 and 2013 resulted in restitution for damages to the property owner. Among those instances, only two of the cases were actually collected on.

Phoenix Spent $2.2 Million on Graffiti Cleanup in 2014 Alone

The city of Mesa spent over $209,278 in order to clean up graffiti in 2012 and 2013. The city of Phoenix spent a surprising $2.2 million to clean up graffiti in the beginning of 2014. Considering the massive amount of money that is spent on graffiti clean-up in Arizona -- and other areas of the country -- legislation like this could be substantially beneficial to cities, towns and business owners throughout the nation.