Fighting graffiti by prohibiting sale of spray paint to minors

Tulsa city councilor Connie Dodson will be proposing an ordinance which would prohibit the sale of spray paint to anyone age 18 or younger. (Wilson/KTUL)

Painting under the shade of a tree near the corner of Admiral and Lewis, an artist is hard at work.

"This is a story," said Jill Leslye, capturing the essence of Kendall-Whittier.

"You have the Mexican restaurant. You have the taco truck," she said, pointing to various elements of her painting.

Meanwhile, across town, there's another story involving paint on the pedestrian bridge under Interstate 244 over the Arkansas river.

"Well, I hate the defacing of any public property," said Kirby Davis, who was out for walk.

A slew of orange, green, and white was emblazoned here and there with the phrase Irish Mob.

"It is a horrible cost to the city, it's a horrible cost to private property owners that have to clean it up," said Tulsa city councilor Connie Dodson.

Fed up with graffiti, Dodson is hoping to curtail it by regulating the sale of spray paint.

"Persons under 18 can't legally purchase it or be in possession of it," she said.

"Do we have any data that it's people 18 and under that are doing all of this?" inquired Davis.

"With discussions with the police it's mostly juveniles," said Dodson.

"Well, if they buy spray paint they may be helping their parents spry something in the garage," said Leslye.

"You can be in possession of it if you are with a responsible legal guardian," said Dodson.

One of the by products of graffiti is that it comes with a certain amount of resignation.

"It's a waste of money and waste of time if we try to cover it up cause they'll just do it again," said Davis.

"I mean, you can prohibit anybody to do anything and they're going to find a way to do it," said Leslye.

But Dodson is undeterred.

"I mean, you can see from this right here it looks awful," she said, pointing to a defaced wall.

Dodson is expecting to introduce the proposal at a city council meeting in early June. She is still working out what penalties may accompany the ordinance.

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