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Graffiti: Art or Vandalism?

January 31st, 2014 | by admin admin | in Security Advice |    2   comments

graffiti.jpgBanksy plays artist in residence on the streets of New York. Billionaire Chip Wilson, Lululemon founder, commissions an elaborately tagged mural on the seawall of his $35 million home. Someone scrawls unintelligible two-storey-high words across a Chinatown restaurant’s wall. Is it art or vandalism? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

In Cleaning Up Our Cities, the RCMP points out that most graffiti taggers seek notoriety, not artistic expression. The City of Vancouver’s graffiti page notes graffiti is often associated with other crimes, contributes to declining property values, increases residents’ fear of crime, and reduces retail sales. Scrawling graffiti on private or public property without the owner’s consent is a crime, subject to a fine of up to $5,000.

Under its Integrated Graffiti Management Program, the City encourages you to call 9-1-1 or 3-1-1 if you catch anyone vandalizing private or public property. If the suspects have left, take photos of the tag or word—including any small initials or markings around the edges. Noting the date and time, send the photos with your contact information to the police.

If someone has tagged your property and the City serves you with a notice, you must remove all graffiti within 10 days of the notice. If you don’t comply, the City will have it removed and send you the bill. Currently, Vancouver does not have the option of having graffiti certified as art after a notice has been issued. In a case like Wilson’s mural, perhaps you would be wise to consult your neighbours before commissioning graffiti art for your walls.


Note: This blog discusses general safety and security topics. It is not intended to provide comprehensive advice or guidance. In all matters of personal safety and security, we encourage readers to research topics in depth and consult a security professional about specific concerns.

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