Definition of Graffiti
Graffiti is any unauthorized drawing, mural, printing or writing which is scribbled, scratched, sprayed, painted, or similarly placed directly on any surface by means of paint, ink, or other substance or by chisel, hammer, stone or other device.

One of the forms of graffiti in Williams Lake is tagging, which is a simple mark of graffiti, which are the tagger’s initials, symbol or alias.

Report Graffiti Online

Use our Bylaw Complaint Form to report graffiti.

How Graffiti Affects Our Community

Graffiti sends out a message that we could be losing control of our neighborhoods and it should be removed quickly, so we are not giving this message.  When we allow graffiti to remain in our neighborhoods, it is initiating an open invitation for more littering, loitering and graffiti.  This may also lead to an increase in other crimes and acts of violence.

Victims of Graffiti & Vandalism

Whether the target is private or public properties, graffiti affects the entire community.  This vandalism costs BC communities hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in painting and removal costs.  The money allocated to graffiti takes away other valuable community initiatives and programs.

Steps the City of Williams Lake is Taking to Reduce Graffiti

The City of Williams Lake allows residents to report graffiti on public or private property via an Bylaw Complaint Form.  City of Williams Lake residents are encouraged to contact the city with the location and details of the graffiti.

Preventing Graffiti

There are steps that property owners can take to reduce their susceptibility to graffiti.
  • Increase lighting around your property, add motion sensor lighting to ensure your property appears occupied at all times
  • Check your property to see if you have any walls or fences that are susceptible to graffiti because it is important to eliminate “blank canvases” on your property. Planting vegetation such as thorny bushes or ivy in front of vulnerable walls.
  • Remove structures that will enable access to a second storey, these may include ladders or dumpsters. Second level walls allow for high visibility of graffiti.
  • Cover walls with protective anti-graffiti coatings. This is recommended for surfaces that cannot be painted over such as, stucco or brick.

Cleaning Up Graffiti

It is the responsibility of the property owner to remove the graffiti on their own property.  The removal of graffiti is encouraged right away as this will reduce the opportunity for the offenders to receive notoriety for their crime. If you are interested in assisting with graffiti removal from another person’s property you have to acquire permission from that property owner before you can remove the graffiti.

Tips for Removing Graffiti 

Paint over graffiti with latex paint.  Keep an extra gallon of paint on hand so the graffiti can be removed promptly.
Apply a primer coat to the surface before painting the graffiti so it doesn’t “bleed” through the paint once it is applied.  It is recommended to apply two coats of latex paint.
On concrete surfaces consider chemical solvents to remove the graffiti rather than painting on the surface.

How You Can Stop Graffiti 

  • Recognize graffiti is a crime! Don’t become immune to the presence of graffiti; recognize that it is not acceptable to allow graffiti to become part of the urban landscape.
  • Report graffiti on all public or private property via our Bylaw Complaint Form. This is important for two reasons: 
    • The appropriate steps can be taken for quick removal.
    • Tracking of graffiti incidents is necessary in order to determine patterns of vandalism. If you witness an act of graffiti in progress contact the RCMP immediately.
  • Remove graffiti as quickly as possible after it appears (within 78 hours). Graffiti vandals generally seek recognition and attention from their peers, by removing tags quickly and consistently, offenders are not able to receive the desired notoriety. If graffiti is not removed, this may lead to additional graffiti on or nearby the original site.