New York City's war on graffiti has been going on for decades, and Mayor Bloomberg formed an anti-graffiti squad in 2005, "Graffiti is something for which our administration has zero tolerance...[it's] an invitation to criminal behavior." But now there's a new way to fight graffiti, besides spying on taggers and arresting taggers: It's shutting down the stores where spray paint is sold—talk about going up the chain!
According to the Wall Street Journal, "Police targeted Apartment Depot Hardware"—on Broadway and West 142nd in Manhattan—"in a sting operation after several young men arrested for tagging said they had bought spray paint at the shop, said Lt. Charles Hyland of the neighborhood's 30th Precinct. 'We've had an increase in graffiti in the last couple of years,' he said. 'So, basically, we went after the source.'" And "Allen Schwartz, an attorney in the city's Civil Enforcement Unit, said the case is believed to be the first time the law was used to close a business for violating the spray-paint ordinances." Schwartz tried to be optimistic, "We're not trying to close them. We're trying to get them to stay under control."
The city's anti-graffiti laws state, "No person shall sell or offer to sell an aerosol spray paint can, [or] broad tipped indelible marker or etching acid to any person under eighteen years of age." The hardware store's owner says if he got a summons about the first illegal sale (made by his son), he would have addressed the issue, but then the undercover cops came in twice more.
Tejada's lawyer said the six-day shutdown was ridiculous and claimed the city never closed clients accused of "far more serious violations—selling liquor without a license, running gambling operations and allowing drug dealers to buy and sell inside the premises." Next up: Shutting down Krylon.