The City of Colwood's Westshore Graffiti Outreach Program is helping to keep our City safe, clean and graffiti free. The program focuses on recording tags, removing all graffiti, education and prevention initiatives, as well as enforcement strategies in cooperation with the Westshore RCMP and other public stakeholders. The Westshore Graffiti Outreach program is a big part of why residents and visitors know that Colwood is a clean, safe and desirable place to live, work, play and invest. Thanks to this program, taggers know Colwood is not the place to leave their mark.
The Effects of Graffiti
Graffiti vandalism causes millions of dollars' worth of damage throughout the Capital Region each year and diverts tax dollars from the delivery of other government services. Graffiti can also increase the perception that an area is unsafe and may encourage additional illicit activity. As a result, graffiti frequently decreases property
Keeping it clean
When graffiti is removed in a timely way, vandals quickly learn that their work won’t last long in this area, and move on. In 2013, the Westshore Graffiti Outreach Program recorded and removed 535 tags in 275 separate acts of vandalism in Colwood, resulting in an estimated $18,000 in damage. That’s a 22% reduction compared to 2012.
Working with offenders
In 2013, Colwood’s Bylaw officers assisted with the Restorative Justice Forum for two of the vandals and supervised 25 hours of community service to paint over graffiti and clean up garbage. Officers were also able to work with the family of another young offender who is dealing with significant social and behavioural challenges. None of these individuals has re-offended.
Partnering for success
Private and commercial property is among the hardest hit by graffiti, accounting for 20% of the vandalism reported in 2013. Property and business owners are encouraged to get in touch with Graffiti Outreach Program officers for tips on preventing and dealing with graffiti vandalism.
The Graffiti Outreach program is supported by an agreement with BC Hydro, who provides green paint and $2,000 annually toward supplies for the removal of graffiti from Hydro distribution equipment.
The City also benefits from the generosity of RONA Home and Garden Centre which frequently donates rollers, trays and paint brushes to the Graffiti Program. This frees up the BC Hydro funding for the purchase of chemical cleaning solutions and other items.
What can you do?
- Report graffiti by calling the Westshore Graffiti Outreach Program Coordinator at 250-478-5999.
- Be aware. If you suspect someone of committing an act of graffiti vandalism, report them to the authorities as soon as possible.
- If your child keeps graffiti magazines or tagging equipment, has traces of paint on shoes or clothes, or 'tags' his belongings or walls with graffiti, speak to them about graffiti and it's implications.
- Restrict access to exterior walls of your building by planting bushes or erecting barriers.
- Increase lighting in vulnerable areas to discourage vandals after dark.
- Use graffiti resistant coatings on exterior walls to aid in cleanup.
- Remove or paint over graffiti as soon as practicable. Failure to remove graffiti leaves an impression that no one cares about our community. The sooner graffiti is removed; the less likely the location will be a target of continued vandalism.
- Graffiti vandals want their tags to be seen. Once they realize that their graffiti is removed quickly from a location, they will likely move on to other locations. It may take several removals to deter the vandals; however, patience and persistence will pay off.
- Businesses are encouraged to restrict access to spray paint, acid etching products, sharpies and magnum marker pens by stocking them in such a way that staff assistance is necessary. Placing these items twithin a staff member's sight lines and restricting sales to those under the age of 18 are other strategies that have proven effective in the fight against graffiti vandalism.
- If you are a victim of graffiti it is important that you record the damage. Photographs will provide evidence should the responsible party be found and prosecuted.
- Become a program partner.
Funding for the Westshore Graffiti Outreach Program is provided in part by the City of Colwood and is supplemented by financial donations and donations of equipment and services from public and commercial stakeholders.
Registered partners that make an annual financial donation to the Westshore Graffiti Outreach Program are helping to support educational initiatives to deter graffiti vandalism in the Westshore and surrounding areas.
Donations also augment the resources necessary for local enforcement to effectively monitor vandal activity in order to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. Discipline for offenders is focused on restorative measures such as restitution or supervised community service, but criminal charges are may be recommended in some cases.
Furthermore, contributions help provide the materials necessary for volunteers and community service workers to conduct abatement and cleanup of local sites.
Program Partner Benefits
Advice - Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) advice is available upon request to all program partners.
Assistance with Cleaning - Labor supervised by the Graffiti Coordinator can frequently be provided to paint out damage or clean litter at no charge through the use of volunteers or community service workers.
Discounts - Upon referral, victims of graffiti crime can receive a 10% discount on paint through the Langford RONA Home & Garden Centre. If professional removal or graffiti proofing services are sought or required, discounted products and services from SEI Industrial Coatings and Goodbye Graffiti Victoria are also exclusively available to registered program partners.
SEI Industrial Coatings offers:
- A 10% discount on all Graffiti Proofer Coatings and Graffiti Removal Services or a 20% discount on all Graffiti Proofer Coatings and Graffiti Removal Services for each client in a group of three or more new customers.
- One year of Free Graffiti Removal for Graffiti Proofer coated surfaces greater than 200ft2
- An annual draw for the chance to win a free 200ft2 Graffiti Proofer Coating.
Goodbye Graffiti Victoria offers
- $500 credit toward the initial clean-up of a site with each annual membership in the Ever-Clean Maintenance Program
- 25% discount on any singular graffiti removal request.
Participants in the Westshore Graffiti Outreach Program will also receive a Registration Certificate for display and an Annual Report on the activities and accomplishments of the program. If desired, every effort will be made to mention Program Partners in promotional materials and press releases when appropriate.
Corporate Program Partners (25+ employees) - $500+
Business Program Partners (5-24) employees) - $250+
Associate Program Partners (1-4 employees) - $150+
To report graffiti, get graffiti prevention tips or to become a Registered Program Partner of the Westshore Graffiti Outreach Program please contact:
City of Colwood Bylaw Services
3300 Wishart Road
Colwood, BC V9C 1R1