Illegal Graffiti

Monday, September 04, 2006

Graffiti Problem and Solution

Q: If you are elected Mayor of Ottawa, what are you going to do about eradication of graffiti vandalism in our community?
Barrhaven Residents

A: It is important that everyone do their part in keeping both public and private properties free of littering and illegal graffiti in order to help the City.

What is Graffiti?
"One or more letters, symbols, figures, etching, scratches, inscriptions, stains, or other markings that disfigure or deface a structure or thing, howsoever made or otherwise affixed on the structure or thing, but, for greater certainty, does not include an art mural".

We have to distinguish legal graffiti (which is not always art mural) from illegal graffiti.
The only difference is that the first one is done with the property’s owner permission and the second one with out the permission.
If graffiti is made against the property’s owner will, this should be penalized exactly like vandalism. Otherwise, if city doesn’t have any by laws related to design/architecture of the properties, owner of this particular property can have graffiti if he/she wishes so.

To eliminate illegal graffiti I would educate property owners, students, and the general public about the negative effects of illegal graffiti.
I would introduce a new Graffiti Bylaw, to guide City staff in preventing and enforcing the law.
I would enforce this new law creating small and flexible Clean City unit, which will collect data from society about littering or graffiti, and will enforce the law.
The Clean City unit will not require an additional funding because from the penalties (tickets issued) will survive it self. It can be another Public Private Project (P3).
In the practice for example: owner of the property records on video people who do the illegal graffiti and pass it to the special Clean City unit. Officers follow up, try to locate this ‘artist’ and penalize him/her or parents. This unit will also go to the scenes where the graffiti occurs repeatedly, contact the owner, and do the investigation by its self. There are many methods to track, locate and penalize the ‘illegal artists’.
As an alternative to the fee, for parents and these who cannot afford a ticket payment, the city would make them erase their work plus order picking up trash on our streets so they learn about properties values and rights of others.

We absolutely cannot follow Toronto (Graffiti Bylaw Municipal Code, Chapter 485) and penalize property owners if graffiti occurs against their will and knowledge. For example the store owner cannot be enforced to immediately remove graffiti from his store’s building wall, because he has to sell his goods instead, serving a public and making an income.

I invite you to see my other solutions to problems our city face.
Please go to: