In order to keep Austin clean and safe, the Austin Code Department (ACD) is always on the lookout for evidence of common violations such as illegal dumping and tall weeds; however, bandit signs are also a form of litter that troubles the city. In addition to trashing the areas where they are posted, bandit signs also pose a direct safety threat to citizens. Since bandit signs are often overlooked, the following is a brief introduction to bandit signage as well as what community members can do to assist code officials in their efforts to clean up Austin.
What Are Bandit Signs?
A bandit sign is any sign which is illegally placed in a restricted area, often advertising anything from new homes to weight-loss products. Signs placed on utility poles, traffic signs, or traffic control boxes are always strictly prohibited. Other areas where bandit signs can be found include medians, yard areas, or any public property. In addition to these areas, any signs staked or placed on land dedicated or reserved for streets, utilities, or other public facilities are also considered to be bandit signs – these areas are known as “Right of Way”.
How Do Bandit Signs Affect the Community?
Aside from their unsightly appearance, bandit signs are hazardous to both pedestrians and motorists. Since bandit signs are in off-limit areas, they can be very distracting for motorists – distracted drivers often slow down or stop suddenly to read the information on these signs, causing potential for accidents. Bandit signs also create hazards and impede the work of City and State employees responsible for servicing utility lines, mowing, and conducting other maintenance work on the Right of Way.
While ACD continues to work diligently to remove bandit signage, it is often very difficult for officers to keep up with the constant influx. If citizens witness any questionable signs or sign placement, they are urged to contact 3-1-1 and report this to our officers, and they can do so anonymously. Once the possible violation is reported, code officials will evaluate the signage, and if needed, remove it in order to keep our city clean and our citizens safe!