Community Environmental Initiatives

Graffiti Awareness

Graffiti facts

  • Rapid removal is one of the most effective deterrents to taggers.
  • Statistics show that most taggers are males between 12 and 21 years old.
  • Hip-hop graffiti, a more complex style (font) of “tagging”, is the most common type of graffiti found in Hamilton (80-90%).
  • Graffiti is the most common type of property vandalism (35%).
  • Graffiti cleanup is costly to taxpayers, using up funds that could be used for parks, roads and other community improvements.
  • Graffiti removal companies must be licensed with the City of Hamilton.
  • Everyone needs to work together to combat graffiti.

Roles and responsibilities

The City’s Role is to:

  • Receive, track and coordinate graffiti complaints.
  • Remove graffiti from City property. New service standard is removal within 72 hours of reporting.
  • Forward complaints for action by responsible agency such as Canada Post, MTO, Alectra Utilities (formerly Horizon Utilities), Union Gas and Bell Canada.
  • Enforce the by-law that relates to graffiti removal.
  • Provide resources and training for volunteer groups who want to help clean up parks, roads etc. (eg: Adopt-a-Park Program).
  • Increase awareness and engage residents and businesses through public education and initiatives (eg: Recycled Paint Program).

The Police’s Role is to:

  • Respond to complaints about graffiti in progress.
  • Capture and determine consequences that may include diversion programs (eg:  John Howard Society/Public Works graffiti clean-up program) or charges against graffiti vandals.
  • Educate youth and neighbourhood residents (eg:  School Liaison Officers, Safeguard home security audits, Neighbourhood Watch).

The Community’s Role is to:

  • Clean graffiti off your property promptly.
  • Call Police (911) if you see graffiti in progress.
  • Contact the City to report existing graffiti at 905-546-CITY (2489) or on-line using the Graffiti Form.
  • Provide tips to Police and/or Crime Stoppers.
  • Make an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
  • Volunteer: get involved in neighbourhood associations or activities that help prevent and clean up graffiti.

Graffiti removal tips

  • Remove graffiti from your property as soon as possible. The sooner you clean, the easier it will come off.
  • Fresh paint is more easily removed than paint that has had time to bond with a surface.
  • In the event of a return visit, remove it as soon as possible, the person wants to be seen, take that thrill away from them.
  • Report existing graffiti on City or private property by calling 905-546-2489 or on-line using the Graffiti Form.
  • If you see someone in the act of putting up graffiti anywhere in the city, call the police by dialling 9-1-1.
  • Always remember that safety comes first and do not confront the vandal(s) on your own.
  • If you spot graffiti on your neighbour's property, inform them right away. Encourage them to clean it up as soon as possible.
  • Consider pooling resources and sharing the cost of the clean-up materials.
  • If you have to cover up graffiti, paint the whole wall. If it's not possible to paint the entire wall, block off the offending section with a square or rectangle-shaped area of paint.
  • Avoid using paint to cover up graffiti on bare surfaces such as unpainted concrete, stone or brick walls. Instead, remove the graffiti with solvents and other specialized supplies or call a professional for help.
  • Where possible and economically feasible, install extra lighting and cameras or plant ivy.
  • Don’t leave old skids or milk crates, etc. outside, they can be used to aid in climbing up buildings.
  • Store Owners: keep your markers and spray cans, etc. in conspicuous areas where they can be monitored. Ask a few questions when the individual purchasing the spray paint appears to be a minor.