The Kelowna RCMP is searching for three suspects who continue to vandalize the community.
“These types of crimes are often discounted by the public as ‘nuisance issue’,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy. “But the reality is this isn’t a victimless crime. Vandalism such as this takes away from the beauty of our city, and it encourages other criminal behaviour.”
Three taggers have been linked to more than 600 incidents over the summer. The tags ‘AWKWRD’, ‘SOJA’ and ‘SOCIAL’ are all of interest to RCMP.
The City of Kelowna said taggers cost the community more than $400,000 on a yearly basis to paint over or remove graffiti on public property and more than $350,000 of damage is done to private properties. This year has been the busiest ever, the city claimed, with staff cleaning more than 1,500 locations in August and September alone.
“Graffiti impacts our city’s image, deters patronage of commercial areas and negatively impacts real estate investment potential or neighbourhood perception,” said Scott Isfan, the city’s community policing coordinator. “If it’s not immediately removed, graffiti can serve as an invitation to littering, loitering, additional graffiti, and other forms of crime and acts of violence.”
Isfan said those city workers occupied by graffiti removal could be better utilized elsewhere, taking them away from other valuable community initiatives.
The city is asking residents to help “keep Kelowna beautiful” by reporting, recording and removing graffiti as soon as they see it. Using the city’s service request system, residents can report the location of spotted graffiti or they can leave a detailed message on the city hotline at 250-469-8600.
Residents can also call the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300 or remain completely anonymous by contacting Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or crimestoppers.net.
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