Why Are Bandit Signs Illegal?

Beautification is the simplest answer.

But if you want to get really specific:

  • The type of sign commonly used, coroplast, is non-biodegradable.  But, it is at least recyclable, provided you pick them up and actually recycle them.
  • Beyond the coroplast, the ties many posters use to erect the signs, including metal hooks, roofing tacks, bolts and nails eventually detach and fall to the ground, which increases the hazard of tire punctures for vehicles.
  • Once signs are put up, the owners rarely remove them. They eventually fall to the ground over time and add to an epidemic littering problem plaguing Philadelphia.
  • The signs are designed to scream out for attention at motorists, who are already distracted enough as it is. Streetscapes that are inundated with bandit signs increase the visual chaos of the street and reduce the amount of time that drivers spend looking at really important public signs, like traffic controls.
  • There is usually nothing on the sign that clearly shows who the owner of the business is, other than a phone number in large print, and it’s not that straightforward tracing people down with just a phone number (but it’s possible! That’s why Bandit Project needs the information you collect).
  • Most of the signs are advertising scams. If you are hit by these scams, good luck whining to the FTC, or to the Pennsylvania AG, or to the City, for being caught up in a scam commonly advertised on nameless bandit signs. Consumer protection bureaus are bogged-down with complaints all the time and few want to spend the brain energy playing Matlock on skip-tracing the scammers.
  • Bandit signs contribute to blight.

See a bandit sign that bugs you?  Report it!