Any figures, letters, drawings or stickers that are applied, scribbled, scratched, etched, sprayed or attached to the surface of any premises, structure or other property is considered graffiti vandalism. Graffiti vandalism is a crime and carries serious consequences.
Investigating graffiti in our community
Graffiti vandalism is a crime. If convicted, offenders can receive fines of up to $5,000.00 and can serve up to 2 years in jail. Graffiti vandalism is also violation of the Community Standards Bylaw and convicted offenders could be sentenced to a fine of up to $5,000.00. There is no common sentence as each case has to be weighed on the particulars of the incident and the volume of incidents the offender is responsible for. Offenders do not need to be caught in the act of vandalism to be charged.
The Graffiti Coordinator with the Calgary Police Service coordinates graffiti investigations between different members of the Calgary Police Service to ensure there is no duplication of offenders being investigated. The Graffiti Coordinator works with other City department to develop and deliver educational resources for the public and graffiti offenders.
Graffiti affects us all - The Graffiti Free Calgary website helps illustrate the impact graffiti vandalism has on the whole city.
Reporting and removing graffiti or vandalism
If you observe graffiti, please report it online or call 3-1-1.
Please include the location (or closest address), description of the object the graffiti is on and if possible a photo of the graffiti. By reporting graffiti to 3-1-1 it ensures that the graffiti will be cleaned up and investigated.
If you're attempting to remove graffiti, it's best to contact a professional removal company. Typically, people choose to paint over graffiti or to use a graffiti removal product that can be purchase at most hardware stores. Contact the City of Calgary to see if any graffiti removal programs are available.
Additional graffiti facts
- The majority of graffiti is what is known as Hip Hop graffiti and is not associated with gangs in Calgary.
- Most graffiti vandals start tagging by practicing on pieces of paper or in sketch books at home or in school to perfect the tag. They will typically have a large number and types of, felt or paint, markers or spray paint. Their clothes (jackets and shoes) will typically have paint on them as well as their hands may have paint if they are not wearing gloves. They will visit graffiti websites, read graffiti books and have photos of graffiti. The area around your home may have an increase in graffiti as their friends or them will apply graffiti. If you suspect your child may be a graffiti vandal, please contact the graffiti coordinator at the number above.
- Anyone can paint on property they have permission to paint and as long as it has the proper permits and approvals to comply with the City of Calgary’s Development & Planning.
- There are no areas that are managed by the City of Calgary that allows for painting without the prior written permission from the property owner and the proper approvals and permits from the City of Calgary. The City of Calgary sand compounds do not have permission or permits to allow painting in the compounds.
Contacting the Graffiti Coordinator
If you suspect someone you know is a graffiti artist, please email the graffiti coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 403-428-8324.
The Graffiti Coordinator is available to provide presentations and resources to different groups and organizations to help understand graffiti vandalism and help address the issue.