Graffiti. How do we curb this visual plague?

An RCMP News Release: Some time during the late night of September 2nd or the early morning hours of September 3 an unknown person or persons spray painted graffiti onto a shed at Farewell Park with black paint. What’s with this? Why vandalize buildings in a park used by moms and very young children? What’s next used condoms and syringes? David F. Rooney photo
David F. Rooney

An RCMP News Release: Some time during the late night of September 2nd or the early morning hours of September 3 an unknown person or persons spray painted graffiti onto a shed at Farewell Park with black paint.

A statement from the local detachment said that each year tens of thousands of dollars damage is done to businesses and other property by vandals who feel the need to express themselves in this kind of destructive manner.

If anyone has any information as to the person responsible for this, or any other vandalism, is asked to contact the local detachment at 250-837-5255 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Okay. It’s easy to think this is much ado about nothing. But walk around downtown with your eyes wide open and you’ll swiftly change your tune.

I cruised our downtown alleys last Friday with my camera and quickly ended up with 64 individual photos of the weird and often nonsensical spray-painted scrawls on walls, dumpsters and even telephone poles in the city core.

As most people — well those who actually follow local news — probably know, the City is once again trying to enforce the Unsightly Premises Bylaw provisions regarding graffiti. Under the bylaw, building owners have to clean up graffiti on their buildings and, if they don’t, the City will contract someone to do that and then they’ll bill the building owners for the cleanup.

Personally, I don’t think that’s very fair. Personally, I think the sniggering little jerks who get a charge out of damaging other people’s property should be forced to pay for the cleanup. Or perhaps their parents should be given the bill.

But how do you find these twerps?

Here’s a suggestion: A coalition of building owners should put up some reward money and offer it to those people who can drop a dime on the vandals.

Here’s a selection of some of the graffiti downtown:

Graffiti in the alley behind the Howson Building. David F. Rooney photo
Here’s a little something for Telus to clean up. David F. Rooney photo
The parking stalls at the Business Information Centre is badly defaced. David F. Rooney photo
The 7-11 tried to clean up this moronic looking piece of graffiti sprayed on its brick exterior but it just ended up abrading the brick surface. David F. Rooney photo
Most of the graffiti is on private property. But not all of it. Here’s a meaningless scrawl on the City’s utility structure beside Grizzly Plaza. David F. Rooney
It wouldn’t be so bad if these guys could actually create some real art. But they can’t. David F. Rooney photo
The alley behind The Roxy is a heavily graffiti covered. David F. Rooney
One good thing that can be said about our local graffiti fiends is that no one has yet defaces any piece of public art — places of natural beauty like Moses Creek, yes. But art? No. At least not yet, although a couple of these clowns seem to be edging towards it. David F. Rooney photo

Do the anti-graffiti provisions in the City’s Unsightly Premises Bylaw apply to dumpsters? Will RER have to repaint or clean all of their dumpsters? David F. Rooney photo
How about electrical boxes, like this one behind the former RMR Presentation Centre? David F. Rooney photo
Or this one behind the CIBC? David F. Rooney photo
More bad art. David F. Rooney photo
One ambitious kid with a spray can had to climb on one of those barrels to reach the duct on the left. David F. Rooney photo
Not even the United Church is immune to spray-can idiots. David F. Rooney photo