The Tulsa City Council just approved an ordinance aimed at keeping spray paint out of the hands of minors.
In a vote of five to two, councilors approved the ordinance that would restrict the sale of spray paints and dyes, with some exceptions, to people under 18.
The shelves are stocked with spray paint at True Value Hardware in Tulsa and clerk Bob Savage says he is on board with the city trying to restrict sales to minors and cut down on graffiti.
“If it is banded together and everyone follows the ordinance, yes, it is something that will happen,” said Savage.
According to Councilor Connie Dodson, something has to happen.
A drive through parts of east Tulsa shows just how bad the problem is and it has become difficult for the city to keep up with it.
“It is unsightly and a huge cost to the city,” said Dodson. “Every department in the city has a budget to tackle that type of stuff.”
On Wednesday, councilors discussed the ordinance that would require stores to put up signage and ask for identification before any of these products can leave the shelves.
If a minor is caught with these products, they can face a fine of up to $200.
“Where is it going to go from there? Will we pass it to an enforcer?” asked Savage.
Dodson says officers will enforce this when teens are caught otherwise engaging in things like vandalism and breaking curfew.
“Obviously, it is oftentimes attributed to gang members and young people coming up through the ranks and tagging stuff, and it’s become quite prevalent,” said Dodson.
Dodson also mentioned a graffiti tracker used in Oklahoma City that allows them to track gangs through graffiti, which helps track some of that activity and additional data.