What is Graffiti?
Graffiti is writing, drawing, etching, or symbols applied to any surface. Graffiti is vandalism. The Red Deer Community Standards Bylaw defines graffiti as the defacement or disfigurement of any property or object, through:the application of any substance, including paint, ink, stain or whitewash to any surface; or the affixing of any substance, including paper, fabric or plastic, by any form of adhesion that does not remove cleanly when pulled away from the applied surface; or the marking, scratching, etching or other alteration or disfigurement of any surface.
Is Graffiti Really so Bad?
Graffiti is not a victimless crime; it affects everyone. The presence of graffiti not only encourages more graffiti, but can also lead to other crimes and nuisances. It sends a message that no one is in charge, that no one cares, and it can lead to a heightened fear of crime. Graffiti is costly. We all pay for graffiti – as taxpayers or ratepayers - for example. Graffiti may also cause local property values to decrease.
Why should I Report Graffiti?
Graffiti vandals are motivated. ‘Getting up’ is their main goal; having their tag stay up is their reward. Communities that have had success in abating graffiti have encouraged prompt removal and reporting. Prompt removal reduces the chance of recurrence, sends a clear message that defacing property is not accepted and denies vandals the recognition that they seek. Under the Community Standards Bylaw, property owners are responsible to keep their properties well-maintained and graffiti-free. Most are diligent in removing graffiti when it appears; they recognize that graffiti can harm their neighbourhood or business. Failure to remove graffiti may send the message that ‘we don’t care’. As a community, we need to send a different message.
To report graffiti, call the Graffiti Hotline 403.356.8908.
Reporting graffiti provides Bylaw Compliance Officers with an opportunity to contact the property owner, to explain the negative effects of graffiti and to encourage prompt removal. Reporting will also help to deter offenders. Documenting graffiti may assist the RCMP with laying charges against offenders.
Graffiti and the Law
Under the Canadian Criminal Code, graffiti is considered vandalism. Perpetrators can also be subject to a penalty (fine) under the Red Deer Community Standards Bylaw, first offence $2,500.00, second $5,000.00, third $7,500.00.
If you have any information about graffiti crime, contact Crime Stoppers to remain anonymous at 1.800.222.(TIPS) 8477 or www.tipsubmit.com.
If you see graffiti in progress, dial 9-1-1.
How do I Remove Graffiti?
- Indentify the surface area; wood, aluminum, vinyl siding etc.
- Identify substance on area; spray paint, felt marker, sticker etc.
- Note the length of time graffiti has been up. (Often graffiti can be removed more effectively if removed before it has set.)
- Consult a professional. (See list of program supporters for professional assistance and discounted prices.)
How Can I Prevent Graffiti?
If you remove graffiti within…
- 24 hours-there is a 10% chance it will reappear
- 2 weeks-there is a 100% chance it will reappear
Anti-graffiti coatings are available that can reduce graffiti adherence and ease removal.
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)
CPTED is a proactive, common-sense approach to deter crime and nuisances through basic design principles.