graffiti: get the facts

What is Graffiti Vandalism?

Graffiti vandalism is figures, letters, drawings or stickers applied, scribbled, scratched, etched, sprayed or attached on or to the surface of any premises, structure, or other property. Graffiti vandalism is a crime and carries serious consequences.

How does graffiti vandalism affect individuals, communities and the City of Calgary?

Graffiti vandalism is more than just words or symbols sprayed. Graffiti without permission is an act of vandalism that costs millions of dollars to remove, or cover, every year. Every dollar spent on graffiti vandalism removal is a dollar that could be used on other badly needed programs.

If not immediately removed, graffiti vandalism sends out a message that "nobody cares" about the area. It also causes the area to look unsafe and makes people concerned about their personal safety. This creates an open invitation for more littering, loitering and other graffiti. It may also lead to an increase in other crimes and/or acts of violence.

Areas filled with graffiti vandalism are less appealing to those who may be looking to buy or rent property. Houses becomes more difficult to sell and values are reduced.


Is graffiti vandalism Gang related?

There are many different types of graffiti vandalism.
Less than one per cent of graffiti in Calgary is gang related.
The most common type of graffiti vandalism is the Hip Hop graffiti which consists of hand scribbles, bubble type lettering or complex works. Communicative graffiti vandalism is about conveying a message, usually about political views.
Hate graffiti vandalism is targeting a specific group with words that are threatening to that group.

Why do people do graffiti vandalism?

Graffiti vandalism research shows that it is about the vandal's ego. It has very little to do with creating and more to do with individual recognition. The vandals are attempting to create a recognizable name for themselves within their subculture and demonstrate just how risky their acts are.


If there is graffiti in my neighborhood am I living in a bad community?

Graffiti happens in all neighborhoods throughout the city. Graffiti vandalism does not make a neighbourhood a bad community, unless it goes unchecked. If people think no one cares about the community, then criminals may start to become more active. The quicker it is reported to 311, and cleaned up, the less likely it will be to re-appear.

What is the City of Calgary doing to address the issue of Graffiti?

City of Calgary business units have joined together to create a Graffiti Action Plan to target the issue of graffiti in Calgary. By joining forces we are able to understand the full scope of the problem, work more effectively on abatement as well as gather intelligence, lay criminal charges against the offenders engaging in graffiti vandalism and work on the creation of positive alternative programs.