Rash of ‘tagging incidents’ prompts call for complaints

The City of Kelowna is partnering with Crime Stoppers to boost its initiative to stop graffiti.

A rash of vandalism throughout the city has prompted a call for complaints and an offer of cash.

The City of Kelowna is partnering with Crime Stoppers to boost its initiative to stop graffiti. Where previous rewards were “up to” $500 for a conviction, the City is upping the ante by offering the full amount as soon as there is an arrest.

“It makes financial sense to stop the vandalism before it happens rather than just cleaning up the damage,” said Scott Isfan, graffiti eradication and prevention co-ordinator, in a press release.

“Cleaning up graffiti comes with a price tag and Kelowna taxpayers are the ones who are footing the bill. Graffiti on public and private property is vandalism, not art.”

In the last few weeks there has been a rash of tagging in the downtown core on both public and private properties. The damage from these acts of vandalism alone is expected to cost thousands of dollars. In 2014, there were more than 6,600 service requests for graffiti vandalism, which cost the City more than $280,000.

While security is stepped up in areas where buildings have been tagged, law enforcement officers can’t be everywhere, all the time. That’s why the public’s help is needed to report these incidents.

“There are social and economic consequences of graffiti vandalism. It can impact our city’s image, deter patronage of commercial areas and negatively impacts investment potential and maximum return on real estate. If not immediately removed, graffiti serves as an invitation to littering, loitering, additional graffiti, and other forms of crime,” said Isfan.

Get graffiti off the streets and put $500 in your pocket. Anyone with information should call 1-800-222-8477, text ktown to CRIMES (274637) or leave a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net. Crime doesn’t pay, but reporting it does.