A rash of graffiti hit Oak Bay in recent months, prompting police to alert residents on what to do if they see fresh tags.
“If you see fresh graffiti, take a picture of it and report it to police. Then try to remove it as quickly as possible,” said Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties.
The advice comes after a week in which three Oak Bay locations were targeted with graffiti – Thorn & Thistle Flowers on St. Patrick Street, Monterey Middle School, and a house and car in the 2400 block of Dunlevy St.
“In the 11 years I have lived here, it’s never been this bad,” said resident Trisha Cunliffe. “We live across the street from Monterey school so new graffiti is always noticeable to us. There is a tonne of graffiti also that has popped up in the last month in the path by our house.”
Two of the tags that appeared on Monterey school are the same two sprayed on Thorn & Thistle during a similar time frame. In addition to criminal charges, victims may pursue civil action against the parties involved.
“Someone knows who this is and I encourage them to call us or Crime Stoppers if they want to stay anonymous,” said Bernoties. “I also encourage people to let us know if they know someone who has unexplainable paint on their shoes, hands, or jackets or spray cans in their backpacks.”
The vandalism is not just an annoyance, it is a financial hit to residents, businesses, and the district.
“The cost to remove the graffiti can range depending on the size of the graffiti. Most callouts are in the $100-$200 range, but it can go way north of that. Very few are less than $100,” said Kevan Cooper, owner of the Goodbye Graffiti franchise for Vancouver Island.
Goodbye Graffiti has received “quite a few” one-time callouts to Oak Bay. They also take care of public washrooms for the City of Victoria and Cooper has noticed a huge increase in graffiti in the last little while on the washrooms by Gonzales. They’ve had to almost completely repaint the bathrooms inside and out about five times in the last month and a half.
One of the most important things, according to Cooper, is to be on it right away. As soon as new graffiti is noticed, be proactive and get it dealt with as soon as possible. He also recommends being selective about the paint used to cover the vandalism. If it is a brown wall, use brown paint to fix it. If the tag area is painted over with a different colour, it can appear as a canvas or a frame and attract more tagging.
Anyone with information that might identify those responsible for the new graffiti in the area are asked to contact the Oak Bay Police Department 250-592-2424.