Q: I was wondering if you could tell me what the laws are in Red Wing pertaining to graffiti on public and private property. In addition, what laws does the city have regarding advertising sex acts?

A: Thank you for your question. Graffiti is covered under the City Code Chapter 10, Public Protection, Crimes & Offenses, Section 10.25 Graffiti. Graffiti is defined as any writing, printing, mark, sign, symbol, figure, design, inscription or other drawing scratched, scrawled, printed, drawn or otherwise placed on any surface of a building, wall, sidewalk, sign, phone pole or train car or any permanent structure on public or private property which has the effect of defacing the property.

Once graffiti is identified on private or public property, the owner shall notify the Police Department within 24 hours upon discovering the graffiti. Within 48 hours after notifying the Police Department the owner shall initiate efforts to cover or remove said graffiti explained in Subdivision 3D.

Within 120 hours after notifying the Police Department, the graffiti shall be completely removed or covered over by the following methods:

1. Owner shall, at their expense remove or cover over, or cause to be removed or covered over, all graffiti on exterior surfaces of the owner's property.

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2. If the owner is unable to remove or cover over the graffiti from private property, the owner shall immediately request the city remove or cover over the graffiti. The city may arrange for the removal or coverage of the graffiti with an independent agency. The cost of cleanup shall be borne by the city and the agency working with the city and shall not be passed on to the private property owner.

3. In the event the person or persons responsible for the graffiti are convicted and the court orders the offender(s) to pay restitution for the cost of the cleanup, and the property owner or the city have expended funds to remove and/or cover over the graffiti, the restitution shall be directed to the property owner or the city in the amounts that they expended removing or covering over the graffiti.

Depending on the type of graffiti, the city’s zoning ordinance, sign regulations starting in Section 65.010 may also apply.

With regards to advertising sexual acts, numerous statutes and ordinances may apply, and I recommend that you file a police report, allowing an officer to respond and determine the proper course of action. If an officer has concerns about an individual(s) constitutional right to free speech, a copy of the police report will be forwarded to the county attorney or city attorney as applicable for a legal opinion and recommendations on how to proceed with the complaint.


1. Red Wing City Code, Chapter 10, Public Protection, Crimes & Offenses, Section 10.25 Graffiti. Located online at www.red-wing.org

2. Red Wing City Code, Zoning Ordinances, Section 65.010 Sign Regulations. Located online at www.red-wing.org

“Ask The Chief” allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us.

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