Graffiti on a heritage building at the corner of Quadra Street and Tattersall Drive. Tagging along the stretch of Tattersall

Graffiti on a heritage building at the corner of Quadra Street and Tattersall Drive. Tagging along the stretch of Tattersall

As graffiti problem worsens, cops hope tag database will help catch culprits

Travel down Tattersall Drive and you’re bound to see a slew of unwanted public art exhibits.

Graffiti covers many a power pole, mailbox, fence and hydro box. And neighbours are tired of the rotating door of paint overs and subsequent re-taggings.

“It’s not pleasant to look at,” said John Schmuck, president of the Quadra-Cedar Hill Community Association. “(The situation) is worse than it’s ever been.”

As construction is underway along the road, between Quadra and Blanshard streets, the power poles will soon be removed with wires running underground instead.

Worst hit, neighbours say, is the heritage commercial building at the corner of Quadra Street and Tattersall Road that has been hit by both graffiti and reckless drivers in the past couple of months.

“That building has sat there for 60 years, it’s always been a part of the community. And here it is, it gets fixed up (after the car crash) and somebody comes and defaces it,” Schmuck said. “We’re a better community than that.”

Const. Dave Gray, graffiti co-ordinator with Saanich police, says Tattersall is one of a few problem areas in the municipality.

Officers are aware of the problem and are documenting the graffiti in an international database known as GRIP (Graffiti Reduction Interception Program).

“What happens is kids come down to a telephone pole and tag something because they want their tag to be recognized,” he said. “But when they start getting more proficient, they start to get more recognizable, and we’re able to start linking them to some of their work, our earlier files, and send somebody to court.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

If you spot graffiti…

Home and business owners are required, by Saanich bylaw, to remove graffiti on their property.

To report graffiti – on private or public property – call Saanich police’s non-emergency line at 250-475-4321.

Graffiti removal on public structures must be removed by the structure owner. Saanich public works crews (250-475-5599) are responsible for such things as traffic signs, road structures, municipal properties and garbage containers.

To report a vandalized mailbox, call Canada Post (1-800-267-1177); a vandalized B.C. Hydro pole or box (1-800-224-9376); a Telus structure (250-388-8617); bus shelter (250-388-7664).