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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: March 11, 2008

Senator Anthony Sykes
Sen. Anthony Sykes

Senate Approves Sykes’ Measure to Stiffen Penalties for ‘Tagging’

The state Senate on Tuesday approved a measure to increase penalties for the malicious injury or destruction of private property. Sen. Anthony Sykes, author of the legislation, said the bill is a response to the growing problem of ‘tagging’, or the defacing or destruction of property with graffiti.

Sykes said the crime is not only becoming an increasingly more frequent nuisance in urban areas but is also occurring in Oklahoma’s smaller communities.

“This is no longer a problem limited to our metro areas,” said Sykes. “It’s spreading through the state’s rural areas and it’s important that we establish stronger penalties to create an adequate deterrent. This bill would ensure that prosecutors have the ability to hand out punishment fitting the crime.”

The bill would establish a felony for damage, defacement or destruction resulting in an aggregate loss greater than $1,000. Sykes explained that under current law, a criminal may commit numerous ‘tagging’ violations and be charged with a series of misdemeanors. Under SB 1663, District Attorneys would be able to charge offenders with a felony if the aggregate damage meets the $1,000 threshold.

“This is a very serious problem and it was important that we address it with strong legislation,” Sykes said. “The Legislature needs to let our citizens and business owners know that we are dedicated to protecting their property from criminals. I’m pleased the legislation received the unanimous support of the Senate and I will continue working to see that it wins the approval of the House.”

The measure now advances to the House for consideration.

For more information contact:
Senator Sykes' Office:  (405) 521-5569

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