City looks to deter graffiti vandals with new $1,000 fine
EDMONTON -- A proposal to create a new bylaw offence for "applying graffiti" on private and public property will be considered by a city council committee next week.
City administration recommends the move to crack down on a rise in graffiti vandalism in Edmonton.
A recent audit shows graffiti complaints increased 48 per cent between 2018 and 2019 and the number of locations with graffiti vandalism rose 32 per cent between 2015 and 2019.
Currently, perpetrators can be charged with a criminal offence but the only city fines that exist are for property owners who refuse to clean the graffiti up.
"We need a fine that’s a deterrent but not overly onerous," Ward 3 Coun. Jon Dziadyk told CTV News Edmonton.
A city report recommends a $1,000 fine "because it is consistent with other jurisdictions" and other fine amounts set out in the Community Standards and Public Places Bylaw.
Graffiti vandalism has been an ongoing problem at Accord Collision & Painting in west Edmonton.
Still staff agree the punishment cannot be too severe.
"How do you enforce it? You don’t want to spend $5,000 chasing a $1,000 debt on a kid that will never pay," Charles Smylski told CTV News.
The Community and Public Services Committee will discuss the proposal next Wednesday.
If councillors agree to move the idea forward, it will still needed to be voted on by council as a whole.