Graffiti consists of any figures, letters or drawings that are applied, scribbled, scratched, etched, sprayed or attached to the surface of any premises, structure or other property. It can ruin the natural beauty of a city, and can often be profane, obscene and offensive. As a citizen, you can help manage graffiti where you live by recording, reporting and removing the graffiti.
The best way to prevent graffiti from spreading is to remove it right away. Statistics show fast removal deters repeat offences. Persistence pays off. It may take several paint-overs before the tagging will cease, but eventually vandals will get the message that graffiti is not tolerated in your neighbourhood.
If you see old graffiti that has not been cleaned up, report it here:
Graffiti falls under the Good Neighbour Bylaw, which states property owners must ensure graffiti is removed within 7 days. Fines can be levied if action isn't taken. For questions about enforcement, contact Bylaw Services at 250-490-2440 or by email.
The best way to deter graffiti vandals is to remove tags and other markings right away - this shows the community is cared for and inviting to others, and statistics show fast removal deters repeat offences.
There are other proactive things you can do to help deter crime in your neighbourhood:
- Work with neighbours and schools to assist in painting projects.
- Consider adding lighting or landscaping to the area to deter vandals and loitering.
- Restrict access to the roof of your business by pulling dumpsters away from walls, cover drain pipes and block ladders.
- Set up a Block Watch in your neighbourhood.
How to clean up graffiti
Here are some tips to follow if you are cleaning up or painting over graffiti to help ensure vandals don't come back:
- Make sure you paint over the affected area in a neat fashion - covering the entire wall is best, as patches of paint encourage more tags.
- Colour match paint with the affected surface whenever possible.
- Use a paint or undercoat that doesn't allow the graffiti to ghost through.
- Save some paint for future touch-ups.
- Avoid painting unfinished surfaces such as brick, stucco, concrete or marble.
- Avoid sand-blasting paint off surfaces, as it can etch the shape of the tag into the surface.
- Keep up the good work. Repeated paint-overs may be needed. Prompt removal sends the message that graffiti is not going to be tolerated.
- Acid etching graffiti is usually found on glass. Do NOT touch this graffiti type — the ingredients can cause burns to the skin, eyes and lungs. This type requires replacement of the glass panel.
The City of Penticton and Downtown Penticton Association have partnered in a pilot program that involves graffiti removal in a designated Downtown area. Businesses in the area pay for participation, and will be protected with third-party graffiti removal.
To report graffiti within the program area, visit www.downtownpenticton.org/site/graffiti. For information on the program, call 250-493-8540.