Removing graffiti from your property
It’s important you remove graffiti within 72 hours.
- This reduces the chance of reoccurrence.
- It sends a clear message that defacing property is not acceptable.
- It doesn’t give graffiti vandals the recognition they seek.
Things to consider before attempting to remove graffiti:
- Property owners are advised to consult a professional graffiti remover since these methods below may not always be successful and improper removal can actually imbed graffiti.
- Always read and follow the manufacturers directions on all products.
- Removal products work best on newly placed graffiti.
- Removal works best at 10°C or warmer. All graffiti must be temporarily blocked from public view until total removal is possible.
- Do a test patch first with all removal products.
- Don’t let removal products drain into the storm sewers.
- ICI Paints and Cloverdale, in partnership with The City, provide a discount for graffiti removal and paint-over products.
Graffiti Removal Suggestions
- Most effective and relatively inexpensive method of graffiti removal.
- Apply a primer first to prevent graffiti from leaching through.
- Use two coats of latex paint and apply in uniform block patches.
- Graffiti paint remover is available at paint stores.
- Follow the manufacturer’s directions.
- Use caution and do a test patch first.
Aluminum or vinyl siding:
Use rubbing compound or paint remover sparingly. Rinse with warm water.
Use paint remover or rubbing compound, rub with steel wool carefully (may scratch). Rinse with warm water.
Use remover and rinse with a pressure washer.
Apply remover with a brush. Rinse with warm water or power wash.
Sand to remove the graffiti.
Use remover sparingly and scrape off carefully.
Graffiti Prevention Measures
The best way to stop graffiti is to keep it from happening. The following are some tips on how to protect you and your property from being victimized by graffiti:
Fences, Hedges and Plants:
- If you are installing a fence consider staggering the fence posts so there is not a smooth canvas for a vandal to write on.
- Use fences, rails and other barriers to discourage through traffic in areas where graffiti could be an issue.
- Plant a hedge, this will give you privacy and doesn't leave a canvas for a graffiti vandal.
- Put in shrubs, clinging plants such as ivy, or plants with thorns to protect exposed walls. This will break up the writing space and make it harder for vandals to paint the wall.
- Trim trees or bushes that block the public’s view of potential targets and vandals.
- Install motion-detector lights at the rear of your property; this will make vandals feel exposed but not give them continuous light to work by and can prevent ‘show casing’ the graffiti.
- Talk to your local paint store about applying a transparent coating to make graffiti removal easier.
- When painting, choose paint colours that are darker and keep leftover paint for touch-ups.
Keep up the neighbourhood:
- Keep your property in good repair and free of vandalism. Graffiti and other forms of vandalism left on properties are open invitations for more, not just on your property but on your neighbour’s as well.
- If graffiti does appear on your property, try to remove it within 72 hours, this will significantly decrease the chance of it reoccurring.
- Encourage your neighbours to watch for and report graffiti vandals.
- Organize a community graffiti removal project. Bylaw services can help with this initiative, go to www.calgary.ca/animalservices click on Graffiti and Our Services for more information.
If you see graffiti in your community:
- If you see graffiti being applied, call 9-1-1.
- Record graffiti that you see in your community.
- Report the recorded information to 3-1-1.
- Remove the graffiti within 72 hours if it is on your property.
- Preventative measures can go a long way. Not only does prevention keep you and your property from being victimized, but prevention can also increase citizens’ sense of safety and pride in their community and city.
Additional graffiti facts.
- The majority of graffiti is what is known as Hip Hop graffiti and is not associated with gangs in Calgary.
- There are over 9,000 graffiti vandalism offences per year.
- 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 and 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.
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.
You can help reduce graffiti in Calgary by Calling 3-1-1 to report graffiti.
Call 9-1-1 to report someone in the act of applying graffiti.
Calgary Graffiti Content provided by The City of Calgary and Calgary Police Department.