Graffiti vandalism is any inscription, slogan, drawing, etc., scratched scribbled or drawn, often in spray paint, on public or private property without permission.
The most common graffiti is a blend of “hip hop graffiti”, which is when a vandal or tagger paints their respective tag name in an effort to cause damage to gain fame within the graffiti sub-culture. These vandals will usually tag with a crew and often paint their tag name.
Graffiti Coordinator Position
The Graffiti Investigator is a relatively new position. This person investigates graffiti files and looks to identify those responsible by examining their “tags”. The Graffiti Investigator works closely with businesses, residents, City of Regina Bylaw Enforcement unit and other Police officers to encourage Graffiti reporting so these files can be investigated.
How to report Graffiti
- Unfortunately, the actions of uncaring, inconsiderate, bored individuals cause work, inconvenience and expense for those who care about their property and their community. Graffiti impacts the whole community and requires action from everyone.
- Here is what you need to do to do if graffiti vandalism appears on your property:
- Record: Take a photo of the graffiti vandalism as soon as you see it. The photo is critical to successful investigations by the Regina Police Service.
- Report: Report all incidents of graffiti damage to your property by calling Regina Police Service at 306-777-6500. You will be given instructions on how to submit information and the photo. You can also go online at reginapolice.ca, click on “REPORT A CRIME”, and choose Mischief/Graffiti. If you see a graffiti crime in progress, you are encouraged to call 911.
- Remove: Remove graffiti from your property as quickly as possible. A quick response has been shown to prevent it from reoccurring.
Assist in catching a criminal!
Anyone who can assist the police in identifying the suspect(s) in Graffiti crimes or any other crime is asked to:
- Call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)
- Visit www.reginacrimestoppers.ca
- Dial *8477 from SaskTel cellular
- Text “TIP158” and your tip message to “CRIMES (274637)”
Why is graffiti removal important?
Graffiti harms our community by:
- encouraging additional graffiti and vandalism in the area where it appears
- costing money to paint or repair damage
- offending individuals when graffiti is obscene, racist, or derogatory
- damaging the natural architecture of our city
- creating fear of crime
Graffiti vandalism is the most visible and prominent crime in a neighbourhood, making it appears unsafe. The Broken Windows theory tells us that the appearance of disorder will attract and cause more disorder and the escalation of crime.
If graffiti appears on City-owned property:
Contact Service Regina at 306-777-7000 or by filling in the Online Service Request form so that City Staff can remove the graffiti before it becomes a neighbourhood issue.
For graffiti management to be effective, graffiti needs to be wiped out quickly whenever it appears. That’s why the Regina Community Standards Bylaw requires owners or occupants of property to remove all graffiti from their premises, including buildings, accessory buildings, dwelling units or structures.
Options to Consider
Try the Community Paint Program – Thanks to a partnership with local paint companies, you can purchase discounted paint, chemical removers, brushes, rollers and other clean-up items. They are prepared to provide advice on the appropriate removal technique and products.
- Cloverdale Paint
- Dulux Paints
- General Paint
- RONA Home & Garden Regina
Recycled Paint Program – Free recycled paint can be picked up at any SARCAN location in Regina.
Call a Commercial Graffiti Remover – You can hire a professional to wipe out graffiti from your property. This is especially important when dealing with valuable or sensitive surfaces. Check the Yellow Pages of the phone book (under Graffiti Removal) for listings of commercial graffiti removers.
Graffiti Removal Techniques
Bricks, Cement, Concrete – Use extra strength paint remover applied with a wire brush to work into holes and pores of stone. Allow time to activate and rinse with a forceful stream of water from a hose, pressure washer or sodablaster. If the surface is uniformly flat, a light grit (60) sand paper can remove paint, but will also scratch the surface. Consider using a sealer after removal to close pores and make future removal easier.
Aluminum/Vinyl Siding – Aluminum siding is usually coated or painted. Vinyl siding is made of plastic which can be marred by lacquer thinner-type cleaners. Solvents may work too aggressively and remove the coating as well. Experiment in a small inconspicuous area and then work on the more visible areas. Use paint remover sparingly and carefully. Use a clean rag and keep turning to a clean part of the rag before each wipe. The longer the solvent stays on the surface, the deeper it penetrates. In most cases, you will probably have to repaint.
Fibreglass – Be aware that acetone-based solvents will soften plastics. Use full-strength paint remover and rinse carefully. Stucco – Due to the multi-faceted surface of stucco, it is impossible to sand off. Use paint remover and follow up with a high pressure water hose or pressure washer. Use stucco paint and go over the graffiti carefully. Consider using a sealer as a finish coat.
Glass or Plexiglass – Any razor blade can scrape away cured paint on regular glass. For other marks, any solvent can be used. Use the clean rag technique and hold the rag over the graffiti for a moment to let the solvent work. On plexiglass, be careful of lacquer thinner type solvents as they can attack the surface causing it to fog and smear. Make sure your product is compatible with the type of surface you are cleaning. Rinse thoroughly
Wood – Try working with the solvent list if the marks are new. Most thinners will remove magic markers and acetone will remove day old spray paint. Use a clean rag and keep using a fresh part on each wipe. On latex or oil-based paint, use a stain-blocking primer for exterior use. After the stain blocker coat has dried, proceed with regular paints, oil or latex. Most oil base paints are more durable to solvents and could make future clean up easier. Consider a sealer coat after final finish. Avoid using flat paints as they readily absorb pigments from markers and spray paint.
Metal – On any unpainted metal (iron or stainless steel) surface, any solvent can be used. Some polished aluminum surfaces will cloud or oxidize with aggressive cleaners like lacquer thinner. Use the clean rag technique. If you are unsuccessful, try paint remover.
Etching – Surfaces scratched or scored with sharp objects can only be filled with fillers or the material will have to be replaced. Some new types of glass have replaceable covers or film layers that are cheaper to replace than the etched glass. Automotive body fillers can fill deep gouges and then be repainted. The only other recourse may be to replace the glass.
Graffiti is vandalism, not art. It’s a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada to put graffiti on private property.