Get tough on taggers

From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' on

Localities and states need to get much tougher on graffiti “taggers’’  on publicly owned structures. Such public vandalism should be treated as felonies, with serious jail time, not as misdemeanors. And police and the rest of the law-enforcement community should make sure that photos of these people, who are mostly young males, be widely distributed to the public.

I was reminded of the need for this long-overdue change while reading about the graffiti guys’ attack on David Macaulay’s beautiful mural on a retaining wall alongside Route 95 in Providence. The state gave up and painted it over.

The effect of graffiti itself, and of leaving it visible far toolong, is much more serious than some might think. It signals lawlessness and menace to residents and visitors and tends to make people want to avoid areas where it’s common. Thus it’s bad for public morale and the economy.

It’s particularly offensive and depressing in such older areas as southern New England, with considerable manmade beauty in the form of old buildings.

Make this public vandalism a felony.