More ways for kids to go to jail...
DENVER - Taggers beware, simply having graffiti tools like spray paint cans, nozzles and tips, could become a crime if some Colorado state lawmakers have their way.
Representative Jim Kerr (R-Littleton) and Representative Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood) are sponsoring a measure to make the mere possession of graffiti tools a Class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $750 fine. They will introduce the bill when Colorado lawmakers return to work next week for their 2008 legislative session.
"I had a business at one time and I got tagged and I didn't like it," said Kerr, from Littleton. "(The taggers) are not doing home improvement so to speak."
The bi-partisan measure comes about as a recommendation from a task force of 22 law enforcement agencies from around Colorado. Police often describe coming into contact with adults carrying backpacks with graffiti tools and they can't do anything about it. The message from the task force was that graffiti is no longer just a big-city problem.
"Graffiti is a problem, not just here in Denver, it's a problem, I believe, statewide," said Det. John White of the Denver Police Department. He said the proposal does not target the person returning home from Lowe's, Wal-Mart or Home Depot to fix a patch in their garage.
"It would appear that being in possession of those items, you've got one thing in mind and that is you're going to go out and deface somebody's property," White said. "You're going to cause damage."
The legislation is patterned after other criminal statutes that have proven successful.
"We've used the same concept as we use with burglary tools or drug paraphernalia," said Kerr. "You don't have drug paraphernalia if you're not going to be doing some kind of a deal with drugs."
Kerr said he's heard of graffiti in state parks as well as at RTD facilities. In fact, he says RTD spends up to $1 million a year cleaning up graffiti.
9NEWS did not find a state lawmaker, at this time, voicing opposition to the measure.