According to the Oxford Dictionary online
, graffiti is defined as "writing
or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other
surface in a public place".
Over at urbandictionary.com
interpretation: "(Graffiti is) an element of the Hip Hop culture misinterpreted
and misrepresented by the mainstream media, and most especially hated by
affluent (usually white) businessmen who don't understand the roots or meaning
of the writing on the walls."
Whichever definition you prefer, the fact is, getting rid of graffiti is
costing all of us a lot of money.
Halifax just awarded a three-year contract to a company called Atlantic
Graffiti Removal Inc. to remove the tags and drawings from city property. The
cost to taxpayers: $395,856.05.
And that's not all the city spends on graffiti removal. The private
contract is in addition to the 4 full-time HRM employees who remove graffiti "5
days a week, 7 hours a day."
The tender documents paint a picture of just how big a problem this has
The city says between its own staff identifying graffiti locations, and
calls from the public, there are about 350 new cases per month betwen April and
November (until recently the city didn't have graffiti crews working during the
During one two-week blitz, the last company that had the graffiti removal
contract, removed 550 tags from city property. That's on top of the 60 or sites
they clean every week.
And where do they tag? Just about anywhere and everywhere.
Here's the breakdown from the city:
45% traffic signs (stop signs, speed
limit signs, park signs), usually in marker or paint
20% telephone poles,
including pole mounted garbage cans
20% traffic control boxes, traffic light
boxes, metal light poles, usually in marker
15% other HRM assets including
tunnels, park structures, benches, parking meters, etc.
Apparently there are rules that govern the graffiti "artists". The folks
say "contrary to popular belief, Graff is NOT any of the
following: writing on houses of worship, people's houses in general, other
writer's names, or tombstones."
But it's clear to anyone living in Halifax -- and no doubt other
communities in Nova Scotia -- that anywhere else is fair game.