A bill is moving through the state legislature that would make graffiti a felony offense for a third-time offender. Under House Bill 552, anyone who has two or more prior convictions for graffiti vandalism could face up to 39 months in jail.
Chris McGee is Raleigh's Transportation Field Services Manager and oversees the city's graffiti removal efforts. He says Raleigh is a university city, so his department sees people "tagging" their school colors on properties.
“I don't know if I am qualified to give an opinion about whether it should be a felony but I do think something is needed that is probably a little bit stiffer than what we have now," McGee said. "Now the flip side of that is if you have a high school that’s out tagging his school colors, do you really want to charge a high school student with a felony the third time he sprayed paint on the back of a sign because he’s the Class of 2020?”
McGee said the City of Raleigh spends about $400,00 a year on graffiti removal. House Bill 552 has passed through the House and Senate and Gov. McCrory is expected to sign it into law.