Jeff Bray is the executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association. (rickcollinsphotography.com)

COLUMN: Graffiti is more than just a nuisance

Jeff Bray

Downtown Victoria Business Association

Graffiti, or tagging as it is more commonly called, is out of control in downtown Victoria. It is not a nuisance, it is not art, it is a crime. And, it is not a victimless crime. Property owners, taxpayers, consumers all pay for it. It’s estimated that graffiti cleanup costs downtown business and property owners over $1 million a year.

Tagging gives the impression that no one cares about downtown Victoria and hurts business by discouraging shopping and dining. It also looks unsightly and impacts the sense of safety and security of workers, residents and visitors. The best way to stop the spread of graffiti (tagging) is to remove it as soon as it appears.

The faster graffiti is removed, the less desirable your property becomes to vandals.

ALSO READ: COLUMN: Small business is downtown Victoria’s secret sauce

For retail property owners, removing graffiti is time-consuming, frustrating and costly. But it goes beyond that; tags on heritage buildings require either painting over magnificently aged brick or using harmful chemicals to remove the paint and risking permanent damage. These chemicals do not help our local environment. Tagging written on rooftops is dangerous both to the initial tagger and the individuals scaling the rooftops to remove the tags. This puts lives at risk, and for what?

The City of Victoria alone has one full-time staff person and one half-time person who work diligently to remove tags from city infrastructure. These costs are passed directly to you through higher taxes and consumer costs.

In downtown Victoria our Clean Team alone removed 10,450 tags in 2018. For this year (up to June 2019) the Clean Team has removed 8,000 tags. If this level of vandalism continues, we are on track to remove 14,000 tags by the end of this year.

This level of vandalism can’t and shouldn’t continue. Enough is enough; the Downtown Victoria Business Association is taking action. We are working with the Victoria Police Department to target known taggers and tag locations. We are using cameras to catch taggers and the police are pressing charges. We are working with Crime Stoppers to put more eyes on the street.

ALSO READ: COLUMN: Resiliency a hallmark of small business owners

Now, we are also asking you to be part of the solution.

Graffiti is considered vandalism under the law when it is written on private or public property without permission. And the minimum fine for anyone caught writing graffiti (tagging) is $750.

If you see someone tagging call 911. If you are a victim of graffiti, file a police report. Report graffiti on public property using your smartphone and the ConnectVictoria app. Document graffiti you see by taking a picture of the entire tag, including any small initials or marking around the edges of the tag. Make note of the date and time. Forward a copy of the picture to your local police department with your contact info.

Graffiti is more than a nuisance; it is a crime.

To find out more about how to remove, report, and record graffiti go to: downtownvictoria.ca/graffiti.

Jeff Bray is the executive director for the Downtown Victoria Business Association.

Just Posted

Hopeful Sidney pot shop owner challenges town in court after application denied

A court petition has been filed against the Town of Sidney

Search for space continues as North Saanich child care program closes

Beacon Community Service says it is a challenge to find suitable facilities

Semi truck impounded after driver avoids weight scales in Saanich

Driver issued 90-day roadside driving prohibition

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read