February 06, 2015 - 7:48 AM
There’s urban art, known as graffiti to many, and then there’s tagging—the ugly scribbles, words and obscene pictures that end up on our buildings, on murals and even in tot lots.
This has been a growing issue throughout the region and in the past year has hit some pretty low lows. Penises drawn on playground slides. Check. Historical mural tagged. Check. Threatening tags with incorrect spelling. Check, check.
This week the entire back of the Brock Shopping Centre in Kamloops had to be repainted because of tagging. About 30 minutes after finishing the job, the Graffiti Task Force returned to find a 12-year-old boy tagging the wall again. He was skipping school. His parents were called. They said they would come pick him up. They didn’t show, and he had to be let go because the task force can’t legally hold him.
Yes, the parents should care more what their child is doing, especially when it’s illegal, but it’s not just these parents turning a blind eye to the situation. The unfortunate part is that many people turn a blind eye. Well, they complain, but that’s often where it ends.
If you see someone tagging, you need to report it. If you see a wall, fence, slide or utility box that has been tagged, you need to report it. Even better, offer to pick up a paintbrush and cover it up yourself.
Kamloops has a task force that focuses solely on removing tagging, Penticton approved a similar pilot project for the downtown area earlier this week and Kelowna and Vernon have services in place to report graffiti, and even help arrange for removal.
While it’s great to have these services available, we really need to do our part to help out. It’s a community issue that will only get solved when the community stands up to it.
“Don’t turn the other cheek,” Ronnie Bouvier, the Kamloops task force director, begs. “This is crime, total vandalism and destruction.”
Think of the senior citizens normally tasked with keeping the Brock Shopping Centre graffiti-free. Of the volunteers who stepped up to help clean up the Vernon mural when it was tagged recently, or the strangers who took it upon themselves to clean up the legion in Penticton when it was targeted in January.
If you’ve seen the amount of graffiti showing up you know these people can’t do it alone. It’s up to all of us to put a stop to it. Until then, it will only get worse, as these vandals have proven already this year.
To contact a reporter, email Jennifer Stahn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
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