September 9, 2011
Those Stinkin Bandit Signs
By J.R. King
On almost every street corner of my “up and coming” South Philly neighborhood, local “entrepreneurs” – the kind who buy houses for cash or run Medicare scams – have decided that the best way to advertise is to post ugly and illegal signs on every utility pole and street sign in sight.
I don’t know who started this advertising arms race. Maybe it was one of the companies who will buy my house for cash. Maybe it was the person who wants to commit insurance fraud by buying diabetic test strips (presumably to sell them on some sort of black market).
I do know that the city never enforces the law that makes each sign a $75 offense. Worse, seeing the Free Advertising Pioneer get away with it caused a wave of competitors to litter our corner of the world with these so-called bandit signs.
“Bandit signs stigmatize neighborhoods,” says Mary Tracy, executive director of the Society Created to Reduce Urban Blight (SCRUB). “What’s worse, when laws are not enforced, it sends a message to residents and the renegade sign companies blighting their neighborhoods that the city doesn’t care about quality of life.”