More than $35,000 in vandalism was reported in Chilliwack in the first three months of 2022.
Mayor Ken Popove told The Progress they take acts of vandalism and graffiti on city property “very seriously” at city hall.
“Vandalism and graffiti to public property is an issue in every community, and that has long been the case in Chilliwack,” Popove said. “It is unfortunate that people don’t seem to realize there is a cost associated with vandalism, as you can see in the quarterly reports.”
Operations was the city department hit the hardest by vandals, according to the first quarterly report of 2022, with more than $7,300 damage reported each month, for a total of $36,396 with several playgrounds hit. That total reported by operations officials was higher than all three other areas combined: recreation, civic facilities and streetlights.
The second hardest hit were civic facilities, with a total of $4,425.00 for graffiti and vandalism.
“Not only does it cost money to repair, but graffiti damage to playgrounds also means that kids lose valuable play time when repairs are being carried out,” the mayor said.
City staff actively work to minimize the damage with tools like the anti-graffiti coating brushed on kiosk wraps, murals and other surfaces, as well as working closely with RCMP. Crime analysis is used by RCMP officers to target hot spots and they often take part in safety patrols, along with Griffin Security and city bylaw staff.
But painstakingly removing the spray-painted tags, and damage to equipment and buildings takes time, which could be better spent by city staff doing other things like repairing potholes, garbage pickup, or maintaining public green spaces and garden beds.
Anyone who sees an act of vandalism in progress, is asked to report it to the RCMP at 604-792-4611.
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