What is graffiti?
It 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”. “Tagging” is a simple mark of graffiti, which are the tagger’s initials, symbol or alias.
How does graffiti affect 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 and 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.
What steps is the City of Williams Lake taking to reduce graffiti?
The City of Williams Lake operates a City web page that allows residents to report graffiti on public or private property. City of Williams Lake residents are encouraged to contact the City with the location and details of the graffiti. The City webpage: http://williamslake.ca under the blue tab “I want to” report graffiti.
What can I do to prevent graffiti?
There are steps that property owners can take to reduce their susceptibility to graffiti.
Ø Increase lighting around your property, add motion sensor lighting to ensure your property appears occupied at all times
Ø 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.
Ø 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.
Ø Cover walls with protective anti-graffiti coatings. This is recommended for surfaces that cannot be painted over such as, stucco or brick.
Can I clean up graffiti on my own?
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.
What are some 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 can we 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 to the City of Williams Lake web site at http://williamslake.ca . This is important for two reasons: 1.The appropriate steps can be taken for quick removal. 2. 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.
Graffiti Prevention Initiatives:
The City of Williams Lake is involved in the education and information for our residents to report graffiti on public or private property by recognizing, reporting and removing graffiti as quickly as possible. The City Bylaw Department began our graffiti program by implementing the allocated budget for the removal or covering of graffiti on private buildings and public buildings. This program was adopted by Council in 2010 and now Council and staff are looking to initiatives that work on prevention rather than enforcement and mitigation. Some of these include:
- Mural Policy and application for any person wishing to apply a Mural to any surface within the boundaries of the City of Williams Lake.
- Pilot project “Cabinet Wrap Initiative 2012” Council looked to the community to provide images to cover 10 of 18 City owned utility Cabinets within Williams Lake. This project was implemented in 2012, continuation of the project will require significant partnerships between privately owned utility companies in the City of Williams Lake.
Help keep our city beautiful by reporting graffiti to us by using the form below: