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Winnipeg Police Service

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Crime Prevention > Graffiti Prevention

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WHO TO CALL

  • Report Graffiti Vandalism: 204-986-6222

  • Request Help With Graffiti Cleanup: 311

  • Submit an anonymous Crime
    Stoppers tip: 204-786-TIPS

You can also Report A Crime Online

WHAT GRAFFITI MEANS TO A COMMUNITY

Graffiti is more than just words or symbols sprayed on a wall, it is an act of vandalism. In 2007,  the City of Winnipeg increased funding for graffiti removal from $640,000 to $1.17 million. Every dollar spent on graffiti removal is a dollar that could be used on other truly needed programs.

Negative Impact of Graffiti

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

GraffitiGraffiti affects property values.  Areas filled with graffiti may be less appealing to those looking to buy or rent property. As property becomes more difficult to sell, its value is reduced

The two most common types of graffiti are:

  • Tagging Graffiti – Individuals involved in this form of graffiti refer to themselves as taggers or graffiti writers. They gain fame and status from other taggers by painting their distinctive tags in as many places as possible. They may also paint “pieces,” which are highly stylized murals. This form of graffiti is usually illegible to the untrained eye and intended to be seen by other taggers.
  • Gang Graffiti – This form of graffiti is less common and mostly done by gang members or associates. This form of graffiti is a method of communication that is used to promote a gang, mark territory, recruit new members or intimidate a neighbourhood.
 

TAKEACTION TO PREVENT GRAFFITI AND VANDALISM

Tagged wallGraffiti is a form of vandalism, and it is a crime. If you see anyone committing vandalism, report it immediately to the police at 204-986-6222.  Here are some tips to help prevent graffiti and vandalism on your property and in your community:

  • Remove graffiti on your property within 24 hours after it appears. This prevents the offender from receiving the fame and recognition they desire when other taggers see their tag. If the tag is not removed, taggers view this as an invitation to return and put more graffiti on your property.
  • Increase lighting around your property.
  • Use motion sensor lighting and locking gates.
  • Establish a clear boundary between your property and public property (e.g., a durable fence).
  • On vulnerable walls, use clinging vegetation, like ivy, to eliminate large writing surfaces.
  • Plant thick or thorny bushes and install a durable fence to keep people out of or away from areas that could attract graffiti.
  • Choose a durable surface or use protective anti-graffiti coatings for your building, as they are less of a target for graffiti vandals.
  • Request that pay phones, benches or other items be removed if they encourage people to loiter near your building during or after business hours.
  • Volunteer your time, donate supplies or help in any way you can to eliminate graffiti in your community.
  • Get organized! Form a neighbourhood graffiti removal crew. Involve young people in the clean up.
  • Adopt a street, park, school, church or business that is a target for graffiti vandalism. In addition to removing graffiti, consider planting trees, bushes or flowers that may deter graffiti.
  • Have a neighbourhood meeting on vandalism to discuss its victims, costs and solutions.

IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF GRAFFITI

  • All graffiti incidents, whether in progress or not, can be reported to the police non-emergency number at 204-986-6222.
    • If incident is in progress a police unit may be dispatched.
    • If the incident is not in progress but you wish to make a report of the graffiti, please go to www.winnipeg.ca/police/coplogic to file your report online or call our non-emergency number to make a report over the telephone
  • You may also call Crime Stoppers to report incidents of vandalism anonymously. The Crime Stoppers program offers up to a $2,000.00 cash reward for information leading to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers number is 204-786-TIPS (8477).
  • Property owners can call the Graffiti Hotline at 311 for information or assistance if they are having difficulty removing the graffiti.
  • If graffiti is becoming a problem in your area, contact your local Community Support Unit for assistance.
  • Take a photograph of the graffiti whenever possible. A photograph helps the police link the offender to other cases. When identified, the offender may face stiffer penalties and/or be required to pay restitution. A photograph may also assist your insurance company when making a claim.

Clean-up Tips

Tagged wallIf the graffiti is applied to vinyl siding or a steel door: When you make the graffiti report at the Police Station or Police Service Centre, the officer can give you several graffiti wipes to help you remove the spray paint.

Graffiti vouchers are good towards a free gallon of latex paint from a participating paint store. Request a graffiti coupon after completing the graffiti report in person at a Police Station or Service Centre.  If you are able to bring in a chip of paint, the store may be able to color match the gallon you will be receiving.

GRAFFITI REMOVAL AND MAINTENANCE

The following information is to be used as a guide only.

There are a number of graffiti removal products available that work on a variety of wall surfaces. Before using any product to remove graffiti, consult with your local paint store or professional graffiti removal contractor. Always be careful and follow the manufacturer’s directions when using any graffiti removal product. Some products may be toxic and may require using rubber gloves and masks.

There are also products available that are biodegradable and less or non-toxic.

Non-Sensitive Surfaces (painted wood siding, painted concrete, etc.)

  • Apply a stain-killing primer or pigmented shellac. This seals the graffiti and keeps it from bleeding through fresh paint. 
  • Repaint the surface with an appropriated color. Poor paint jobs can lead to more graffiti; try to match the existing color.

Sensitive Surfaces (brick, stucco, cedar fencing, metal, glass, etc.)

Brick, Cement, Concrete

  • Use extra strength paint remover or graffiti remover. Apply with a wire brush and allow it to dry. Rinse with a forceful stream of water.

Stucco

  • Use paint remover and wash off with a high-pressure water hose.
  • Use stucco paint and carefully cover graffiti

Metal, Aluminum Siding, Fiberglass

  • Use carburetor cleaner.
  • Use paint remover sparingly; rinse carefully.

Glass, Plexiglas

  • Use carburetor cleaner if regular cleaners do not work. Use caution with Plexiglas as it easily scratches.

Stickers

  • A growing trend in graffiti is the use of stickers, such as “Hello My Name Is” stickers. Graffiti vandals tag the sticker and place them wherever they can reach.
  • Remove as much of the sticker as possible. Use nail polish remover or acetone-based cleaner to remove the gummy residue.

Sacrificial and Protective Coatings

If your property is repeatedly hit with graffiti and has a sensitive surface, the application of a sacrificial or protective coating can ease removal.

The coatings provide a barrier between the building surface and the graffiti. With sacrificial coatings, only the coating with graffiti is removed, using a high-pressure hose. The sacrificial coating is then reapplied to that specific area. For protective coatings, a remover is applied and the graffiti is wiped or sprayed off.

Check the yellow pages under Graffiti Removal for a listing of companies that specialize in graffiti removal and sacrificial or protective coatings. For more information, call the City of Winnipeg Graffiti Control Program Hotline at 311.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

City of Winnipeg, Graffiti Hotline: 311

  • Operated by the Public Works Department Customer Service staff. 
  • Takes graffiti-related calls and notifies the appropriate department, organization or individual to have the graffiti addressed.
  • May be able to arrange for the removal graffiti with high pressure washing equipment, if the graffiti has been applied to stone or brick and is difficult for a home owner to remove the spray paint on their own.
  • Operates a Public Enquiry Service--allow some time for your concern to be addressed.

The City of Winnipeg Graffiti Control Program: 311

  • Assists individuals or groups in the community interested in organizing graffiti paint-outs.
  • Provide paints and supplies to assist groups, individuals and victims willing to remove graffiti in their community.

The City of Winnipeg Public Works

  • The City of Winnipeg Public Works offers a free, year-round graffiti removal service.
  • For more information regarding the by-laws for graffiti, visit the City of Winnipeg Public Works page on graffiti by-laws.

Winnipeg Police Service

  • Call the Winnipeg Police Service at 204-986-6222 if you see graffiti in progress.
  • Works with the community to prevent graffiti through enforcement, prevention, education and awareness programs.
  • Contact your District Police Service Centre or Winnipeg Police Service Community Relations Unit at 204-986-6322 for more information.
  • You can also Report A Crime Online

Take Pride Winnipeg! 204-956-7590

  • Focuses on education programs, organizes volunteer paint-outs and manages the citywide mural program.
  • Works in cooperation with the City of Winnipeg,

Winnipeg Crime Stoppers - 204-786-TIPS (8477)

  • Takes information about an individual(s) involved in graffiti vandalism.
  • Offers up to a $2,000.00 cash reward for information leading to an arrest.
  • Allows callers to remain anonymous.

If you would like a Police Officer to provide a Power Point Presentation on this topic you can forward your request via one of three ways:
  • email your request to wps-communityrelations@winnipeg.ca
  • fax your request to 204-957-2450
  • mail your request to:
    Unit Commander
    Community Relations Unit
    P.O Box 1680
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Canada R3C 2Z7
Due to demand, we request you contact us at least six weeks prior to the event. Most presentations are one hour in duration and handouts are provided. The presentation is free of charge - room to be supplied by the organization requesting the presentation, with a minimum of 20 attendees.
 

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Last update: August 23, 2017

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