Windsor

Ford City residents worry vandalism will paint neighbourhood in bad light

Some Ford City residents are concerned that a recent vandalism attack might taint the neighbourhood's image — one that community members have worked hard to restore. 

Windsor police are investigating the widespread vandalism

Kerry Ippolito (left) and Gillian Benoit (right) live in Ford City. They say they are 'frustrated' and 'infuriated' by the recent vandalism attack. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC)

Some Ford City residents are concerned recent vandalism will paint their neighbourhood in bad light — one that community members have worked hard to restore. 

"It's frustrating to see so many people in the neighbourhood put so much work into their properties — like there's new houses being built, there's new businesses going up — and to see someone just not care, just to blatantly disregard all the work going ahead," said Gillian Benoit, a resident on Drouillard Road. 

Though her house hasn't been hit with the markings, buildings close by to her have. At least a dozen tags can be found across the city, many with the same face and four letter word: Kurs. 

Benoit runs the Ford City Residents' Association and said she knows many people in the area are upset with what's happened as the region has worked hard on revitalization and improvement

"We've done a lot of work to combat issues like that," she said pointing to the vandalism. "And to see someone go straight up Drouillard Road ... it's offensive." 

At the end of last week, some Ford City business owners and residents said they began to notice a large face spray painted across walls, garages and fences. 

The same tag appeared about three weeks ago, covering dozens of buildings on Ottawa Street. 

Benoit says she worries her spot won't be clean for long. 

"Thankfully this block was okay but that's for now. I mean [the vandalizer] has been out again and tagged more properties so, we're only safe until tonight," she said. 

Kerry Ippolito, another Ford City resident who has worked on a plan to redevelop the neighbourhood, said it's upsetting.

"I don't think anybody in this city can deny the transformation that's happening on Drouillard Road, so to see somebody come in and to this much prolific tagging and absolutely zero talent to go along with it ... and confiscate what they think is their own whiteboards for doing as they please it's just absolutely infuriating," she said. 

Vandalism at the back of TownePlace Suites by Mariott in downtown Windsor. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC)

Ippolito said the cost of repairs can go into the thousands, depending on whether someone needs to power wash or sandblast the spray paint off. 

Police encourage people to report

Despite how widespread the vandalism is across the city, Windsor Police told CBC News that they haven't received that many reports. 

Police say they are actively investigating the situation. 

According to Constable Talya Natyshak, the more people report, the better police can investigate the situation and gather evidence to find a suspect. 

"Our community has done a lot, especially in these areas that have gotten hit, a lot of these business owners, the business properties have done a lot to revitalize these areas and the graffiti isn't something these business owners need, especially in the times that we've had of COVID ... they want their business to be inviting and we want to keep the vibrant Windsor community that we have," she said. 

Natyshak said to discourage this type of activity, homeowners and business owners should keep their properties well lit and install surveillance cameras, as well as signs that say cameras are on site. 

She said anyone with information or video footage is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers. 

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