RSS IconRSS Print IconPrint Text Size Plus icon Minus icon

Graffiti Hotline

Graffiti Hotline

Graffiti is a Crime!

What is Graffiti?

Graffiti is defined as writing, drawing, or symbols applied to any surface without the consent of the property owner, authorized agent, or designate. Graffiti is mischief, which is a Criminal Code offence. Mischief is the willful damage or destruction of property and can be punishable for up to a 10-year prison sentence.

Why Graffiti costs us all

Graffiti is not a victimless crime. If graffiti is ignored it can:

  • Leave the impression that no one cares
  • Lead to more graffiti and crime
  • Damage business growth and tourism
  • Divert tax dollars from essential community programs and services (it costs money to clean up!)
  • Reduce property values
  • Decrease residents' feelings of safety

Report it!

Use your smartphone to snap a photo of the graffiti and report it using the official Town of Caledon app.

  1. Visit caledon.ca/app
  2. Choose the app for your phone (Windows, iOs, Blackberry, etc.)
  3. Download the app (look for "Pingstreet")
  4. Install it on your phone
  5. Launch Pingstreet
  6. Choose the REPORT A PROBLEM module
  7. Select the GRAFFITI category
  8. Snap a photo
  9. Add a description or comment
  10. Submit

caledon.ca/app


Background

Graffiti vandalism is writing, drawing, or symbols applied to any surface without the permission of the property owner.  To create graffiti, a variety of materials, such as automotive car paint, spray paint, crayon and permanent ink can be used. 

Categories

Graffiti can be categorized as follows: 

  • Tag - a stylized signature; usually simple and one color.
  • Throw up - a more elaborate tag normally using more than one color.
  • Pieces - short for masterpieces, these are large, detailed drawings
  • Burner - a very large, elaborate, detailed piece of graffiti. 

Types

There are essentially four (4) types of graffiti vandalism:               

  • Generic or conventional graffiti includes bathroom wall makings, signatures, social commentary, political commentary or declarations of affection.
  • Gang graffiti is used to indicate membership, territory and set boundaries - both geographic and behavioral - for rival groups.  Graffiti is highly stylized, often cryptic and employs specialized lettering.
  • Hate graffiti involves racial, religious, or cultural slurs.
  • Hip-Hop or New York style graffiti tends toward the larger, more detailed works often associated with 'murals' and are, occasionally, commissioned works.

Prevention is a collective responsibility

Prevention is the first stream of a successful graffiti vandalism prevention plan.  Crime prevention is the anticipation, recognition and appraisal of a crime risk and the initiation of action to reduce the likelihood of the crime occurring. Crime prevention also involves promoting activities, attitudes and behaviours that create and maintain safe communities where crime cannot thrive. 

Caledon can work to prevent graffiti vandalism through (i) reducing the number of people engaging in graffiti vandalism and (ii) reducing the amount of graffiti vandalism being perpetrated. 

Prevention of graffiti vandalism focuses on practical, action-oriented approaches, including involving the community, engaging with young people, designing public spaces effectively, publicizing the graffiti issue and reporting problem graffiti websites. 

In order to prevent graffiti vandalism, it is vital that everyone in the community works together to tackle it.  The most effective crime prevention/reduction campaigns involve partnerships between local councils, community organizations and community members such as businesses, schools, sports clubs and private individuals - all with a focus on community engagement, ownership and action. 

Engaging young people

Data indicates that most graffiti vandalism offenders are young people, however only a very small percentage of the total youth population is thought to be involved in the crime. 

Tackling youth offending is vital if the Town is to prevent young people from becoming entrenched in offending patterns or graduating to more serious offences. Interventions that effectively target 'hardcore' graffiti vandalism offenders are also more likely to lead to a significant and rapid reduction in graffiti than those seeking to address pro-graffiti attitudes among all children and young people. 

Effective interventions for youth involved in offending behaviours are those that build strengths by teaching new skills, target the causes of offending, strengthen families, and provide comprehensive treatment that addresses all issues leading to the offending. 

Who's responsible for managing the problem? 

Managing graffiti vandalism is the responsibility of everyone - householders, retailers, business park landlords, utility companies, educators, community groups, local authorities, government and others with specific roles.  The extent of the responsibility depends on the individual or group - from simply reporting the graffiti to removing it and/or managing future graffiti vandalism by either changing the environment or protecting surfaces to make removal easier.

It's important to be clear about the key players' roles and responsibilities, and to make this information available to the public. By updating communities on processes and plans, all parties can address the issue collaboratively.