Undercover offers snag businesses for selling spray paint to minors

From Police Report

"On July 19, 2010, the City of Winston-Salem adopted Ordinance 38-15 that establishes guidelines for the sale of spray paint to minors.    

One May 21, The Winston-Salem Police Department Gang Unit conducted a city-wide operation targeting spray paint sales to minors.  Undercover officers accompanying minors entered 36 designated retail establishments that sell spray paint canisters. During this operation 12 of the 36 establishments sold spray paint to the minors for a 33% violation rate. Each cashier in violation was issued a citation and the business was provided information on Ordinance 38-15 as well as informational material to post notifying patrons and employees of the Ordinance.

The objective of this operation was to bring awareness to the enacted Ordinance while also ensuring compliance.  Additionally the Winston-Salem Police Department requests the assistance of its media partners in educating the public, retail establishments and employees of these establishments regarding the sale of spray paint to minors.  Together we all can work to achieve the goal of reducing the availability of instruments used in the crime of graffiti. 

As a comparison, a 2011 operation that was similar in nature resulted in a 51% violation rate, indicating that efforts have been effective but also confirms that additional awareness efforts are necessary to continue to reduce the number of violations of this nature.

For reference Winston-Salem City Ordinance 38-15.1 (b) Section (5) and (6) read as follows: 

Sale at retail of spray paint. The sale at retail and use of spray paint is hereby restricted as follows:

a. No person shall sell or otherwise transfer any spray paint to a minor unless the minor is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at the time of purchase or transfer.
b. No minor shall at the time of purchase or transfer of any spray paint container, furnish fraudulent evidence of majority.
c. Except as provided herein, it shall be unlawful for any person or corporation holding a retail business license to sell or otherwise transfer spray paint to a minor, as defined herein.
d. Any person or corporation holding a retail business license which permits the sale of spray paint shall have posted in a conspicuous place a sign which clearly states that: "It is unlawful to sell spray paint to any person under the age of (18) years unless the person is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at the time of purchase or transfer."
Possession by minor of spray paint in designated public places. It shall be unlawful for a minor to possess spray paint while in or upon: any public facility, park, playground, swimming pool, recreational facility, or other public building or structure owned or operated by the city; or while in or within 50 feet of an underpass, bridge abutment, culvert, or similar types of infrastructure, under circumstances manifesting the intent to violate any provision of this section, unless otherwise authorized by the city. Circumstances manifesting the intent of a minor to violate this section include, but are not limited to:
a. The possession, in plain view, of spray paint by a minor in one or more of the designated public places; or
b. A positive identification of a minor by an witness to the application of spray paint upon a prohibited surface in one or more of the aforementioned designated public places; or
c. Coverage of a minor's hand(s) with spray paint while the minor is in one or more of the designated public places

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