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Combating Graffiti

Spray paint vandalism—graffiti— is unauthorized etching, painting, or placing of a mark on public or private property. While some people may hear the word “graffiti” and think of it as an art form or a mode of freestyle expression, the reality is that graffiti is an act of vandalism that costs Kamloops taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to remove or cover.

The most common type of graffiti in Kamloops is “tagging”, which is the writing and/or painting of an identifiable symbolic character or “tag” that may or may not contain letters. The tag becomes a signature for the vandal, who may experience pride and develop recognition among other taggers.

The City is working towards its goal of a clean, safe, graffiti-free city by:

  • removing illegal graffiti as quickly as possible
  • increasing the community’s capacity to manage graffiti
  • enhancing civic pride and prosperity for residents and businesses
  • encouraging the use of prevention techniques
  • providing easy and accessible reporting options
  • supporting residents and businesses with appropriate tools and resources
  • involving businesses, residents, youth, community organizations, and graffiti writers as partners
  • partnering with Telus, BC Hydro, and CP Rail to clean street equipment.

Graffiti often occurs on a public property like bridges, utility boxes, and signage. Individual citizens can be directly affected when they find their garages, vehicles, and fences have been tagged. In addition to the costs associated with removal, graffiti can result in an area looking unsafe or intimidating. It reduces property values, can create an open invitation for littering and loitering, and can invite more vandalism.

​What You Can Do

To effectively combat graffiti, it is best to remove it within 24 hours. Every tagger’s goal is to have their tag seen in many locations by many people for as long as possible. If a tag is covered up, there is a strong possibility that a new tag will appear. This new tag must be covered as soon as possible (within 24 hours is best). This process may have to be repeated several times before the tagger learns that it is a waste of time and paint as no one will see the tag in that area.

To Help Reduce the Occurrence of Graffiti in Kamloops

  • Report graffiti on public property for removal.
  • Increase lighting and visibility around targeted areas on your building or property.
  • Add security features to your property such as a monitoring system, or good quality cameras and report observed vandalism
  • Ensure targeted spots can be seen from high-traffic areas where possible. If targeted areas are easily visible by the public, it will aid in discouraging graffiti activity.
  • Use plants to landscape walls, fences, and storefronts as graffiti and litter are less common in landscaped areas.
  • Talk to your children about graffiti and respect for the community.

  • Create a wall mural on the side of your building. Murals must be preapproved by the Arts and Culture Engagement Group. Information on the mural process can be found in the Graffiti Control Bylaw No. 25-5.

  • If you see graffiti on your neighbour’s property, inform them and encourage them to remove it.

  • Organize and participate in community cleanups.

Report a Tag or Graffiti on Public Property

We ask for your help to report any graffiti on City property, Telus boxes, or BC Hydro boxes by reporting the specific location and providing a photo if possible.

Report Online Now

Graffiti on Private Property

If private property has been vandalized by graffiti, it is the property owner’s responsibility to remove it. The City’s Graffiti Control Bylaw 25-5 requires property owners to cover or remove graffiti present on a building, structure, wall, fence, or any other surface that is visible from a public place. If for some reason the graffiti is not removed in a timely manner, a Community Services Officer may be in contact to discuss removal, and depending on the circumstances, may arrange to have the graffiti removed on behalf of the property owner and the property owner will be billed. View graffiti removal tips.

Graffiti Task Force 

The Graffiti Task Force (GTF) is a very small non-profit society created to combat graffiti. Graffiti removal starts in the spring each year, as weather permits, and ends when it turns colder in early winter.

The GTF is available to treat private property on a fee-for-service basis when possible. If you require a paint match, you will be required to supply the paint. The GTF is a small team that relies on volunteers and donations and may not be able to help in all instances.

Donations of program funds, paint, and equipment are always greatly appreciated and will be put to good use for the community.

If you have graffiti on your private property and need assistance with removal, or would like to volunteer your time, please call the Graffiti Task Force at 250-572-6848 or email gtfkamloops@gmail.com.

Murals

If you are a graffiti artist or collective that would like to apply a mural to any surface that is visible from a public place, anywhere within the boundaries of the City of Kamloops, you must apply for preapproval. Please review Graffiti Control Bylaw 25-5 for more information regarding the mural preapproval process.