Rise in graffiti in Saskatoon prompts Business Improvement Districts to ask for police help
Business improvement districts (BID) in Saskatoon are pleading for the spread of graffiti to stop.
On Thursday, both the Broadway and Riversdale BIDs went before the Saskatoon board of police commissioners to ask that the anti-graffiti unit be reinstated.
Organizations hope the measure will reduce Saskatoon’s visual pollution and make the streets feel safe again.
The BIDs said they just can’t keep up cleaning and restoration at the same rate as vandals any more.
“On Broadway we see a plethora of graffiti everywhere, on any type of type of surface,” said DeeAnn Mercier for the Broadway BID.
The degree of danger that’s becoming involved while defacing property is also being taken to new heights.
“What’s really concerning on Broadway for me is that we see a lot up on the roofs – so we see that people are getting up onto these buildings and going three or four buildings over and spray painting everywhere there,” Mercier remarked.
“That’s very dangerous for people to go and cover that or deal with it but also there’s very costly equipment up on the roofs like solar panels, these are very old roofs you don’t want people up there.”
Tagging has left many areas of the city, including Broadway, feeling unsafe for foot traffic.
Ridding public and private property of spray paint also comes with a price to owners who are having to shell out hundreds upon thousands of dollars – only for the unsightly artwork to just reappear.
“When we have a number of social agencies providing outreach for poor and people that need those services on graffiti removal – you’re taking food out of the mouths of the very people you’re trying to help.” said Randy Pshebylo, from the Riversdale Business Improvement District.
In the downtown district reported incidents of graffiti jumped up 85 per cent in one year. That same year, reported occurrences on Broadway jumped by 30 per cent.
Complaints this year to the fire department are also the highest they’ve been since 2009.
All the more reason why local bids are now calling on the Saskatoon Police Service to reinstate the anti-graffiti unit to make the issue more more manageable.
“We know that there’s victims of graffiti that don’t report to police so we made a decision by in mid-2015 to re-deploy some positions to the front line and at that time one of the position was the graffiti position.” said acting police chief Mark Chatterbok.
Though, Chatterbok said he’s not opposed to going back and looking to the matter further to see if it needs to be readdressed in a different way.
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