Regina officials strip illegal graffiti from Cathedral area

Officials are working to clean up Regina's Cathedral neighbourhood by removing graffiti.

Officials are targeting graffiti in preparation for the Cathedral Village Arts Festival

Officials want to eliminate illicit graffiti from the Cathedral neighbourhood. (CBC)

Graffiti removal is the main goal of a new initiative underway in Regina's Cathedral neighbourhood.

City officials chose to "Wipe Out Graffiti" in the area in preparation for the upcoming Cathedral Arts Festival.   

The move to clean up the neighbourhood was motivated by the broken window theory, a theory that suggests enforcing minor crimes will stop the major ones. 

"It's always important to remove graffiti," Mayor Michael Fougere said. "If you don't take care of the small things in the neighbourhood things can get out of hand."

The mayor noted that graffiti isn't bad if its done with permission. 

"If it's welcome and asked for, it's art."

Graffiti is common in all cities, but its also illegal and is classified as mischief under the Criminal Code of Canada. 

In 2015, just over 500 incidents of graffiti were reported in Regina. 

Approximately 90 of those were in the Cathedral neighbourhood, but the prevalence is not out of line with graffiti in other neighbourhoods. 

Regina police chief Troy Hagen said tagging continues to be under reported. Beyond neighbourhood aesthetic, he said graffiti causes grief for individuals. 

"If you're the property owner, it's very troubling to come out and see your garage or your fence defaced." 

The Cathedral Area Community Association, the Regina Police Service, the City of Regina and other local partners will continue to clean up the graffiti in the Cathedral area with the massive amount of festival attendees in mind.  

Officials have encouraged the public to record, report and remove all unwarranted graffiti. 

The Cathedral Arts Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary and runs May 23 to 28.