PEI

Graffiti season has arrived: Summerside police asking public to report tagging immediately

Summerside police are reminding residents to report any vandalism or graffiti they see across the city, amid an increase in the amount of tagging seen this year.

'If it's unwanted, we need a call from them.'

Summerside police say the city has already seen thousands of dollars worth of property damage because of graffiti this year. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Summerside police are reminding residents to report any vandalism or graffiti they see across the city, amid an increase in the amount of tagging seen so far this year.

"Summer is fast approaching and we've seen a bit of an increase from the last couple of years of graffiti tagging," said Summerside police chief Dave Poirier. 

He said the city has already seen thousands of dollars worth of property damage this year.

'If it's unwanted, we need a call from them,' says Summerside police chief, Dave Poirier. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Poirier said police are asking the public to report any graffiti on private or public property and to clean up any unwanted tagging as quickly as possible, once police have been notified. 

"If it's unwanted, we need a call from them."

Photograph graffiti before removing

Poirier said it's important that residents and business owners contact police immediately after finding graffiti, because the sooner it's reported the sooner it can be removed or cleaned up. He also advises the public to take photographs of the graffiti damage before removing it and provide those photos to police.

"Most times we would attend a scene and take pictures ourselves," Poirier said. "But if people were to clean it off we ask them to take a photo of it before it's cleaned and report to us with the picture as well for our own files."

Poirier advises the public to take photographs of the graffiti damage before removing it and provide those photos to police. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Poirier said people should also report tips to police when they see someone tagging or vandalizing a property, but should not intervene. 

"The latest one we caught, you know, he was caught in the act because of a citizen tip," Poirier said. "We welcome those tips any time, day or night."  

Keep properties well-lit

The City of Summerside has public graffiti boards where people can paint graffiti freely, without the risk of penalty, Poirier said. 

"There's some great artists out there, don't get me wrong," Poirier said. "But they should put their talents maybe to their own property, leave everybody else's alone unless they're asked to do it."

Poirier says there are public graffiti boards in Summerside, shown here in 2016, where people can tag freely, without risk of penalty. (Submitted by Rose Sinclair)

Penalties for graffiti or tagging could range from a severe fine to jail time, he added.

"Graffiti is okay if it's wanted, but if it's unwanted it's criminal and persons can be charged for damage to property," Poirier said. 

Poirier encourages residents and business owners to ensure their properties are well-lit at night to prevent tagging or graffiti.

He said people can report graffiti sightings to Summerside Police or by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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