Graffiti vandalism on city’s radar

News Oct 29, 2009 Ancaster News

A proposed bylaw that would force property owners to remove

graffiti from their buildings within three days, isn’t expected to be before

politicians until early 2010, over  a year after the issue was first proposed by a public advisory

committee.

Phil Homerski, a city communications officer who sits on the

Clean City Liaison Committee, said public works staff has been reviewing the CCLC’s

January recommendations to establish a 72-hour removal period for property

owners to eliminate graffiti from any buildings that have been tagged. Issues

such as the cost to the homeowner, the feasibility of enforcing such a bylaw,

the possibility of providing property owners with materials to remove the

graffiti, and any potential legal implications, are still being studied by city

staff, said Mr. Homerski. He also said as part of the discussion the idea to

contract out the graffiti removal to a private business, as they have done in

Calgary and Toronto, will be analyzed.

 He said the

CCLC will discuss the issue possibly at its December meeting. Councillors may

get a crack at the issue early next year, he said.

Property owners are now required to remove graffiti within

19 days. But if the graffiti has been identified as hate related by the police,

the city removes the graffiti immediately.

The CCLC took the bold step to recommend the get-tough

approach to Hamilton’s graffiti problem at its January meeting, after years of

bureaucratic foot-dragging. Since the initiative, city officials, the Hamilton

Police Service, community groups, such as Business Improvement Areas, and

business people have recognized the importance of working together to eliminate

graffiti vandalism and improve litter control.

The committee’s 72-hour removal idea has not sat well with

some councillors, including Mountain councillor Tom Jackson, a member of the

CLC, who believes it is too onerous for property owners. There is the thought

that property owners become “double victims” under such a policy, first by the

vandalism, then by the city that forces them to clean up the graffiti at a

significant cost.

Public works staff is also trying to cobble together what

the cost graffiti vandalism causes to the city. Each year, it costs the city

about $2.3 million in litter abatement programs.

During a recent one-day workshop hosted by the city and the

Clean City Liaison Committee, the consensus from all groups was that the

stakeholders are taking the issue seriously.

“Bottom line, it’s vandalism to your businesses,” said Dan

Rodrigues, chair of the CCLC. “It makes it look like businesses don’t care.”

But Mr. Rodrigues continued, saying just like a broken

window needs to be repaired after a rock has been thrown through it, graffiti

must be cleaned up too.

This summer the city, police and business organizations

joined together to support a city campaign that labels graffiti as vandalism.

Posters on bus shelters encouraged people if they see graffiti being done to

call 911. Mr. Rodrigues said the campaign has become one of the most successful

in recent memory.

Graffiti has become a high priority effort for the community,

after the police’s Graffiti Prevention Strategy pilot program ended in 2008

after three years.

City officials have found that the best way to combat

graffiti is a series of methods, including rapid response, communication among

all the stakeholders, education, such as through public awareness and victim

impact statements, and zero tolerance.

The city as well has revamped how it attacks graffiti, said

Kelly Barnett of the city’s bylaw enforcement office. It has created a city

working group to coordinate how each department responds to graffiti problems. 

“The perception is the city is not doing anything,” she

said. “The city is working very, very hard. We are leading by example.”

Mr. Barnett encourages the public to call the city and

report graffiti vandalism by calling 905-546-CITY(2489).

“We need to know about it,” she said. “We are not perfect.

We do drop some balls.”

Mr. Rodrigues said even though the information presented at

the workshop wasn’t new to the participants, just holding a workshop that

included representatives from the city, business – Tim Hortons and Coke were

represented - BIAs, and police was symbolically important to the campaign to

eradicate Hamilton’s graffiti and litter problems.

“This is the first time something like this has happened,”

he said. “This is a non-political event to get everybody on the same page.”

 

Graffiti vandalism on city’s radar

News Oct 29, 2009 Ancaster News

A proposed bylaw that would force property owners to remove

graffiti from their buildings within three days, isn’t expected to be before

politicians until early 2010, over  a year after the issue was first proposed by a public advisory

committee.

Phil Homerski, a city communications officer who sits on the

Clean City Liaison Committee, said public works staff has been reviewing the CCLC’s

January recommendations to establish a 72-hour removal period for property

owners to eliminate graffiti from any buildings that have been tagged. Issues

such as the cost to the homeowner, the feasibility of enforcing such a bylaw,

the possibility of providing property owners with materials to remove the

graffiti, and any potential legal implications, are still being studied by city

staff, said Mr. Homerski. He also said as part of the discussion the idea to

contract out the graffiti removal to a private business, as they have done in

Calgary and Toronto, will be analyzed.

 He said the

CCLC will discuss the issue possibly at its December meeting. Councillors may

get a crack at the issue early next year, he said.

Property owners are now required to remove graffiti within

19 days. But if the graffiti has been identified as hate related by the police,

the city removes the graffiti immediately.

The CCLC took the bold step to recommend the get-tough

approach to Hamilton’s graffiti problem at its January meeting, after years of

bureaucratic foot-dragging. Since the initiative, city officials, the Hamilton

Police Service, community groups, such as Business Improvement Areas, and

business people have recognized the importance of working together to eliminate

graffiti vandalism and improve litter control.

The committee’s 72-hour removal idea has not sat well with

some councillors, including Mountain councillor Tom Jackson, a member of the

CLC, who believes it is too onerous for property owners. There is the thought

that property owners become “double victims” under such a policy, first by the

vandalism, then by the city that forces them to clean up the graffiti at a

significant cost.

Public works staff is also trying to cobble together what

the cost graffiti vandalism causes to the city. Each year, it costs the city

about $2.3 million in litter abatement programs.

During a recent one-day workshop hosted by the city and the

Clean City Liaison Committee, the consensus from all groups was that the

stakeholders are taking the issue seriously.

“Bottom line, it’s vandalism to your businesses,” said Dan

Rodrigues, chair of the CCLC. “It makes it look like businesses don’t care.”

But Mr. Rodrigues continued, saying just like a broken

window needs to be repaired after a rock has been thrown through it, graffiti

must be cleaned up too.

This summer the city, police and business organizations

joined together to support a city campaign that labels graffiti as vandalism.

Posters on bus shelters encouraged people if they see graffiti being done to

call 911. Mr. Rodrigues said the campaign has become one of the most successful

in recent memory.

Graffiti has become a high priority effort for the community,

after the police’s Graffiti Prevention Strategy pilot program ended in 2008

after three years.

City officials have found that the best way to combat

graffiti is a series of methods, including rapid response, communication among

all the stakeholders, education, such as through public awareness and victim

impact statements, and zero tolerance.

The city as well has revamped how it attacks graffiti, said

Kelly Barnett of the city’s bylaw enforcement office. It has created a city

working group to coordinate how each department responds to graffiti problems. 

“The perception is the city is not doing anything,” she

said. “The city is working very, very hard. We are leading by example.”

Mr. Barnett encourages the public to call the city and

report graffiti vandalism by calling 905-546-CITY(2489).

“We need to know about it,” she said. “We are not perfect.

We do drop some balls.”

Mr. Rodrigues said even though the information presented at

the workshop wasn’t new to the participants, just holding a workshop that

included representatives from the city, business – Tim Hortons and Coke were

represented - BIAs, and police was symbolically important to the campaign to

eradicate Hamilton’s graffiti and litter problems.

“This is the first time something like this has happened,”

he said. “This is a non-political event to get everybody on the same page.”

 

Graffiti vandalism on city’s radar

News Oct 29, 2009 Ancaster News

A proposed bylaw that would force property owners to remove

graffiti from their buildings within three days, isn’t expected to be before

politicians until early 2010, over  a year after the issue was first proposed by a public advisory

committee.

Phil Homerski, a city communications officer who sits on the

Clean City Liaison Committee, said public works staff has been reviewing the CCLC’s

January recommendations to establish a 72-hour removal period for property

owners to eliminate graffiti from any buildings that have been tagged. Issues

such as the cost to the homeowner, the feasibility of enforcing such a bylaw,

the possibility of providing property owners with materials to remove the

graffiti, and any potential legal implications, are still being studied by city

staff, said Mr. Homerski. He also said as part of the discussion the idea to

contract out the graffiti removal to a private business, as they have done in

Calgary and Toronto, will be analyzed.

 He said the

CCLC will discuss the issue possibly at its December meeting. Councillors may

get a crack at the issue early next year, he said.

Property owners are now required to remove graffiti within

19 days. But if the graffiti has been identified as hate related by the police,

the city removes the graffiti immediately.

The CCLC took the bold step to recommend the get-tough

approach to Hamilton’s graffiti problem at its January meeting, after years of

bureaucratic foot-dragging. Since the initiative, city officials, the Hamilton

Police Service, community groups, such as Business Improvement Areas, and

business people have recognized the importance of working together to eliminate

graffiti vandalism and improve litter control.

The committee’s 72-hour removal idea has not sat well with

some councillors, including Mountain councillor Tom Jackson, a member of the

CLC, who believes it is too onerous for property owners. There is the thought

that property owners become “double victims” under such a policy, first by the

vandalism, then by the city that forces them to clean up the graffiti at a

significant cost.

Public works staff is also trying to cobble together what

the cost graffiti vandalism causes to the city. Each year, it costs the city

about $2.3 million in litter abatement programs.

During a recent one-day workshop hosted by the city and the

Clean City Liaison Committee, the consensus from all groups was that the

stakeholders are taking the issue seriously.

“Bottom line, it’s vandalism to your businesses,” said Dan

Rodrigues, chair of the CCLC. “It makes it look like businesses don’t care.”

But Mr. Rodrigues continued, saying just like a broken

window needs to be repaired after a rock has been thrown through it, graffiti

must be cleaned up too.

This summer the city, police and business organizations

joined together to support a city campaign that labels graffiti as vandalism.

Posters on bus shelters encouraged people if they see graffiti being done to

call 911. Mr. Rodrigues said the campaign has become one of the most successful

in recent memory.

Graffiti has become a high priority effort for the community,

after the police’s Graffiti Prevention Strategy pilot program ended in 2008

after three years.

City officials have found that the best way to combat

graffiti is a series of methods, including rapid response, communication among

all the stakeholders, education, such as through public awareness and victim

impact statements, and zero tolerance.

The city as well has revamped how it attacks graffiti, said

Kelly Barnett of the city’s bylaw enforcement office. It has created a city

working group to coordinate how each department responds to graffiti problems. 

“The perception is the city is not doing anything,” she

said. “The city is working very, very hard. We are leading by example.”

Mr. Barnett encourages the public to call the city and

report graffiti vandalism by calling 905-546-CITY(2489).

“We need to know about it,” she said. “We are not perfect.

We do drop some balls.”

Mr. Rodrigues said even though the information presented at

the workshop wasn’t new to the participants, just holding a workshop that

included representatives from the city, business – Tim Hortons and Coke were

represented - BIAs, and police was symbolically important to the campaign to

eradicate Hamilton’s graffiti and litter problems.

“This is the first time something like this has happened,”

he said. “This is a non-political event to get everybody on the same page.”