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Albany County law requires businesses to limit the sale of graffiti tools

The next time you drive under a bridge in Albany County, you might notice something missing. The graffiti that spells out the names of the vandals who drew it.

Because of a local law passed in August, people under the age of 18 will no longer be able to purchase tools used to commit graffiti throughout the county.

According to Albany County Legislator Carl Zeilman, R-C-I-Colonie, a sponsor of the legislation, the law is a win-win for all people in Albany County.

Zeilman said he has observed the graffiti problem in his district, especially on Railroad Avenue and surrounding areas.

"You'll see a lot of tagging over there, and a lot of it near the Central Avenue corridor," said Zeilman.

"Tagging," Zeilman said, is when vandals write their names or a phrase on the exterior of a building.

"A lot of times it's on vacant buildings, but a lot of times it's on buildings that people use every day," he said.

The law, which passed unanimously in the Legislature, calls on merchants who sell spray paint, broad-tipped markers and etching acid, to require customers to present identification proving to the clerk that they are 18 or older.

For some stores, implementation of the law means little for their establishments, as they already have been asking customers for identification.

JoAnn Bryant, a sales clerk at Philip's Hardware on Central Avenue in Colonie, said that since she started working there in May, the store has been asking customers who try to purchase those products for identification.

"I know they can't purchase [these items] if they are under 18," she said. "We do this for the purpose of them defacing things."

Other businesses are not as familiar with the new law, but many people said they see how it could benefit the community.

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