The City of Amarillo has an ordinance that recognizes that graffiti that is visible from a public place, public right-of-way, or the property of others is detrimental to the safety and welfare of the public. It also invites vandalism, additional graffiti and other criminal activities and tends to reduce the value of private property.

While graffiti is a criminal offense under state law (Texas Penal Code, sec. 28.08), the City felt additional measures were needed locally to curtail this activity. The ordinance defines graffiti as markings – including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, stenciling, symbols, letters, numerals and paintings – made on tangible property with paint, an indelible marker, or an etching or engraving device without the effective consent of the property owner.

Property Owners
If you are the owner of property that has been defaced by graffiti, you will receive official notice from the City. You have five days to decide whether to allow the City on your property for graffiti removal or to clean it at your own expense. The offer for the City to provide the cleanup is a state mandate.

If you don’t respond within the five-day period, the free-cleanup offer is rescinded and then there is a 15-day period in which you are required to clear away the graffiti. After that period, the City could remove the graffiti and place a lien on your property to recover expenses. The property owner can request a hearing to determine if the reported graffiti falls under the definition of a public nuisance.

If the property owner refuses, fails or neglects the offer of removal in subsection, they are subject to the payment of the following fees incurred by the assessed by the City:

  • $75 administrative fee for administering the abatement process and inspections.
  • Actual costs incurred by City for giving required notices.
  • $75 for a hearing contesting the finding of a graffiti nuisance.
  • Actual costs incurred by City to enter remove or otherwise abate the graffiti, at the rate of $50 per hour for labor plus equipment and supply costs; a minimum of one hour of labor shall be assessed.

Additionally, failure to clean up graffiti could result in a $500 fine for property owners.

Parents & Children
Amarillo’s graffiti ordinance makes it illegal for a minor to possess aerosol paint of any sort, an engraving device or an indelible marker. If you are the parents or guardian of a child under the age of 17, you could be held responsible for your children’s actions if they violate anti-graffiti laws.

Of course, there are exceptions which include times when the child in possession of the materials is:

  • Accompanied or supervised by his parent, guardian or teacher, in connection with a “bona fide” school project, or by a job supervisor
  • On property where he resides
  • Carrying the materials in the “immediate course and scope” of an event supervised by a governmental entity, school, church or youth organization
  • Transporting the materials for a lawful purpose on behalf of, or at the direction of, a parent or guardian

However, as the parent or guardian of a child, if you “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence” permits them create graffiti on the tangible property of another, you could be found in violation of the law and could face a $500 fine.   

The City has determined that this ordinance is directed towards the health, safety and welfare of the general public.