FIGHTING BACK - Marina Coldwell stands in front of her garage in Anders on the Lake. Her property as well as a number of her neighbours’ properties were spray painted last week.

Neighbourhood banding together after vandalism

  • Jul. 9, 2014 3:29 p.m.

One local neighbourhood is fighting back after a number of properties were tagged with graffiti late last week.

Marina Coldwell and her family have lived in Anders on the Lake for more than four years. Last Friday she noticed that someone had spray painted her detached garage door.

Her neighbours were also hit; some had graffiti on their fences, garages and sheds as well.

“It’s sickening and it makes you feel anger. It’s shock and anger,” she said.

Coldwell said her neighbourhood is banding together to fight back.

“People have walked around looking in disgust, shock and disbelief. I’ve met more neighbours in the last two days. We’ve bonded together because we care about our neighbourhood and we are not going to let this happen to us. There have been changes to security systems – cameras, lights, you name it,” she said. “We’ve really come together as a community and we are watching and we are aware. We’re charged and we are going to watch out for each other’s properties. We’re a little quiet close that’s not quiet anymore.”

Coldwell encourages others whose properties have been vandalized to phone the police.

“People don’t understand that they need to report these things.”

Emily Falk, program development coordinator for the Crime Prevention Centre, went to check out the vandalism left on the properties in Anders on the Lake.

“From my own personal experience this was very concentrated to that area which was very surprising.”

She added it is important to get to know your neighbours to help combat vandalism.

“Meet your neighbours and get to know them and get to know what is normal activity in your neighbourhood,” said Falk.

She added if a property is vandalized with graffiti, it is best to remove it as quickly as possible.

“The stats say if it is cleaned up within 24 hours there’s only a 10 per cent chance it will reappear. If it’s left for two weeks or more, there is a 100 per cent chance it will reappear. That is sending a message to taggers that it is ok and that the property owner doesn’t care,” said Falk. “By cleaning it up right away it is a deterrent because the taggers know that it’s not going to be tolerated. They will try and find somewhere else.”

Falk said the best way to remove graffiti is by purchasing specialized wipes that are specifically used for removing spray paint. These wipes can be purchased at the Crime Prevention Centre in Red Deer.

“We have cleaner for all surfaces. It’s better to remove the graffiti than to paint over. If it’s a different colour scheme than what was originally there, it just creates a canvas. It’s a perfect space to then retag.”

Meanwhile, the Crime Prevention Centre is set to do a graffiti clean up in the downtown core on Aug. 16th. Falk encourages community members to sign up to help the cause.

To report graffiti call the RCMP complaint line at 403-343-5575. The City also has a Graffiti Hotline where reports can also be made by calling 403-356-8908.

Also, those looking for more information regarding graffiti removal and clean up, call the Crime Prevention Centre at 403-986-9904 or visit them at #3, 5015-48 St.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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