- 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.
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