Caledon has launched a graffiti telephone hotline as part of an overall Graffiti Eradication plan for the community; residents can anonymously report cases of graffiti by contacting 1.866.544.8332 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
“A vital element in combatting graffiti crime is knowing when and where it is occurring in the community,” said Caledon Ward 5 Regional Councillor and Graffiti Committee Chair Patti Foley. “The hotline provides us with a reporting and tracking system that can be used easily by local residents.”
The hotline is an integral part of a framework developed by the committee after evaluating and researching similar graffiti eradication plans from around the world. The Caledon plan focuses on three (3) key principles,
(i) prevention of graffiti vandalism: the anticipation, recognition and appraisal of a crime risk and the initiation of some action to reduce the likelihood the crime will occur,
(ii) management of graffiti vandalism including reporting, assessing and removing the vandalism, and
(iii) enforcement of applicable by-laws and laws under the Criminal Code of Canada.
This framework depends heavily on graffiti vandalism being easy to report. The public must have access to the right information about who to contact if they see graffiti either after the event or while it is occurring. Members of the public must also have confidence that when graffiti vandalism is reported it will be removed promptly.
“Graffiti vandalism is a crime and falls within the Criminal Code of Canada,” said Committee member and retired OPP Officer Bob Patterson. “It is considered “mischief” and therefore any person who commits graffiti vandalism is guilty of an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada and may be sentenced to prison.”
At the discretion of the Courts, offenders may be required to undertake community work such as cleaning up tagging and graffiti vandalism. “Graffiti enforcement action should not unnecessarily bring youth into the formal criminal justice system,” said Graffiti Committee member and OPP Officer Clyde Vivian. “Collaboration among agencies is a key to effective enforcement; community work, where graffiti offenders may actually remove graffiti vandalism from communities, may be an appropriate penalty for many offenders.” Vivian has been working with youth in Caledon to combat and remove graffiti through the OPP’s successful mentoring Arts program in local schools.
“It is vital that everyone in the community work together to tackle graffiti vandalism,” said Caledon Ward 5 Area Councillor Rob Mezzapelli. “Effective crime reduction campaigns involve partnerships focused on community engagement, ownership and action.”
The Caledon Graffiti Hotline will ‘go live’ on October 15, 2013. Visit our webpage at caledon.ca/graffiti