Graffiti Prevention

Graffiti is an expensive and defacing form of vandalism.

It detracts from the appearance and image of the city for both residents and visitors.

The City has a comprehensive removal program. The goal of this program is to reduce and prevent graffiti in order to promote safer and cleaner communities. This program requires participation from residents, property owners and business owners to maintain an environment which benefits us all. To keep our city vibrant and clean, the City supports your efforts to eradicate graffiti.

See Graffiti? Call:

IN PROGRESS                                     CALL 911

YOUR PROPERTY                              250.995.7654 (police non-emergency)   *for documentation purposes

PRIVATE PROPERTY                         250.361.0215 (Bylaw complaints)

PUBLIC PROPERTY                           250.361.0466 (City Hotline)

Other numbers to call:

BC Hydro 1.800.224.9376 or 1.800.BCHYDRO: Hydro Poles, boxes

Canada Post 1.888.550.6333: on Canada Post boxes

Telus 250.388.8617: Telus phone booths or boxes

Shaw 250.475.5655: Shaw Cable boxes

What is Graffiti?

Graffiti is any writing, etching, drawing or symbol applied to any public or private property without the consent of the owner. Graffiti is an act of vandalism and considered a crime.

This simple equation can help identify if something is considered graffiti:

ART - PERMISSION = VANDALISM

Why Should You Care?

Graffiti, if left unchecked;

  • Reduces property values
  • Promotes an undesirable image of our city
  • Undermines residents and visitors sense of security and safety
  • Destroys property
  • Diverts tax dollars from the delivery of other City services
  • Can lead to more acts of graffiti and create an environment in which crime can thrive

By removing graffiti quickly and consistently we are showing the pride we have in our community.

What Can You Do When Graffiti Vandalism Occurs?

As a business or property owner, you may have been the victim of graffiti. The best thing you can do is remove the graffiti as soon as possible. Continually removing graffiti before it accumulates will eventually deter the vandals from repeating their offence.

There are a number of steps that can be taken to help combat graffiti in the City of Victoria

RECORD – take a picture of the tag and note the date, time and location. The City will upload it to our database used for tracking vandals. If you see a tag in progress and can take a picture of the vandal without putting yourself at risk, a photo of the accused can help significantly increase the chances of a prosecution.

REPORT – call the police non-emergency line at 250.995.7694 and report the tag. You may be provided with a mischief statement that can aid you in your cost recovery in the event of a successful prosecution.

REMOVE – Please remove the graffiti on your property as soon as possible after you complete the first two steps. It’s important to not allow vandals work to remain on your property for any length of time, as this means you are likely to become a target for more vandals.

How Can You Avoid Becoming The Victim Of Graffiti Vandelism?

  • Use motion detector lighting and/or cameras along the perimeter of your building
  • Go Green! Restrict access to your building walls with vegetation
  • Use graffiti resistant coating on highly targeted walls to make clean up easier
  • Remove graffiti tags as soon as they appear, keep repeating the process until the tagger quits and moves on
  • Enlist an artist to paint a mural or piece on your walls that beautifies your building and the community

Did you know the Broken Window Theory suggests that allowing just one tag to remain up on one wall can lead to countless other tags popping up nearby to create an area in which crime can thrive?

Take Back Your Community

  • The City of Victoria partners with both the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) and Our Place Society to assist in the removal of unwanted tags in the downtown core and neighbourhoods. The City supplies the DVBA team with paint and remediation products and contracts an Our Place Society employee to remediate a large area just outside of the DVBA boundaries.

  • If you are a member of the DVBA, assistance in removing graffiti tags from your property and discounts on paint are available to you – just contact the DVBA Clean Team leader at rob@downtownvictoria.ca.

Did you know the DVBA removes on average over 100 tags from City streets and buildings every week? That's over 5500 a year!

Success Stories

Tolmie Lane

In May of 2014, The City of Victoria along with Victoria Police and Saanich Police and a group of about 50 volunteers joined together for a large scale graffiti paint out along Tolmie Lane. It was the first step of a new community strategy to combat graffiti on Tolmie Lane and adjoining areas of the Galloping Goose Trail.

In recent years, accumulation of graffiti along Tolmie Lane has become very high with more than 200 tags currently visible.

Many of the volunteers attending the event were staff from TELUS, who chose the paint out event as part of the annual TELUS Day of Giving event. The group was also joined by local area businesses, members of the community, staff from local Target stores and paint for the event was donated by Home Depot and Cloverdale Paint.

As part of the initiative, surveillance cameras are being installed and will be monitored by a local business that operates 24 hours a day in the area, providing police with the ability to respond quickly to any new attempts at graffiti or other criminal activity in the area.

Businesses in the area have been removing new tags in the area within a 24 hour period, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive, cutting the amount of graffiti tags down by 95%.

Vic West Skate Park

In 2010 the City of Victoria’s Parks, Recreation and Culture department adopted a new strategy to help reduce the number of incidents requesting police presence at the Vic West skate park. Since its opening, the skate park had always been a frequent location for graffiti, vandalism and theft. In order to address these issues, the City hired skate park hosts to be present during the spring and summer months and removed all graffiti tags on the skate park surfaces. Water misting towers were also installed and used to wet down the surfaces over-night to prevent vandals from tagging it.

Parks staff also visits the skate park every morning to remove any new tags that may have occurred within a 12 hour period. The result of this combined effort has significantly reduced the graffiti and the crime rate in the area.

Posters on Power Poles

It is unlawful to place a poster on a pole unless the pole has a designated poster cylinder