Speaking anti-graffiti cameras?

(Photo: Richard Reeve)

One local town has an idea for a new high tech way to crack down on vandals. It's an anti-graffiti camera and it talks.

"It's a sign of neglect", said Hyattsville Police Chief Douglas Holland of the graffiti. "It's a sign that people don't care."

Auto repair shop owner David Samuel has found tags on his building, even his customers' cars.

"It doesn't make the neighborhood look very nice, but that's the way it is", Samuel said.

Now, the police department hopes a new gadget, a sun-powered motion camera, will stop graffiti artists in their tracks.

"It gives us a 24-hour presence in trouble spots", Holland added.

Most agree Hyattsville's graffiti issues aren't nearly as bad as some larger urban areas.

But police hope the cameras, which not only snap a picture but also blare a loud audio recording, will make a difference.

"A typical message would be 'Stop! What you're doing is illegal. We have captured your picture, and we will use this to prosecute you. Please leave the area immediately'," Holland explained.

Samuel told ABC7 he's ready for the cameras to go up.

"I think it'll help the situation. At least you can see who is in the act, who is doing it."

The camera aren't cheap, costing up to $6,000 each.

But the city already has a federal grant, which is enough to pay for two of them.

Not everyone is a fan.

"I agree that marring other people's property has got to be against the law", said Marsha Stein, from Mt. Rainier. "I am an artist, and I've got to say I've enjoyed some graffiti... so I have mixed feelings about it."

Still, most residents say they wouldn't mind a deterrent to this urban scrawl.

"That's a great idea. I think it'd be a good deterrent", said Nicole Fernandez.. "I think this will be a big help... help clean up the neighborhoods."

If the Hyattsville City Council approves the purchase, the cameras could be installed in a matter of months.