California City Threatens Elderly Victim Of Vandalism With Fines

102-year-old, wheelchair-bound Victor Silva Sr. must paint over recurring graffiti on the fence around his Oakland, California home, or face thousands of dollars in fines from the city.

Silva Sr.’s citation came with a hefty $1,100 fine if he didn’t remove the graffiti within ten days. If his 70-year-old son, Victor Silva Jr., hadn’t been available to help remove the graffiti, the disabled Oakland resident would have had to pay $1,277 for each additional failed inspection.

“It’s hard to keep up with it because as soon as we get it painted, It’s gonna be graffiti on it again, and it won’t last,” said Silva Jr.

Even in cities like Chicago, citizens can report vandalized property to local authorities, who will send a team to remove the graffiti in question at no charge. In Oakland, it’s the opposite. If your home is vandalized, the city will force you to remove it, via citations and heavy fines.

Oakland will remove graffiti on the first occasion, but after that, the property owner will be forced to remove the graffiti or face fines if the city doesn’t catch the vandal.

It seems strange that the city would punish residents for being repeatedly victimized by criminals that the city fails to catch and prosecute, but Oakland’s municipal code demands that someone remove repeat graffiti, and the city won’t be the one to do it.

Silva Jr. expressed frustration with rampant crime in the city. Between the relentless graffiti and frequent break-ins at his local business, he doesn’t understand what the city is doing, apart from bothering his elderly father.

Silva Jr. says he’s called 911 for all three recent break-ins at his Oakland storefront, saying, “I’m put on hold every time. So it’s hard to understand where our tax dollars are going. They can’t answer 911, but they can come out and hassle you about a fence?”

A local news outlet was quick to point out that the city certainly doesn’t remove graffiti on public property within ten days, capturing footage of a utility box within view of Silva Sr.’s property covered in graffiti.

After the channel covered Silva Sr.’s story, the city claimed it would reassess the situation and consider removing the citation.

“I would hate to think that there [are] other hundred-year-old people that are being harassed like this,” Silva Jr. said.