Youth nabbed for 78 graffiti incidents
Female charged with eight counts of mischief under $5,000
By: By Megan Sarrazin
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 07:00 pm
A St. Albert youth is facing eight criminal charges after a two-year police investigation tied her to 78 incidents of graffiti.
“Regardless of style, size or colour, graffiti is vandalism and a criminal offence when placed on public or private property without the owner’s consent,” said St. Albert RCMP Cpl. Laurel Kading.
The youth, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is charged with eight counts of mischief under $5,000.
The female vandal caused $7,231 in damages, notably to 62 separate pieces of property owned by the City of St. Albert. Other targets include Canada Post, Telus, Fortis Alberta and Waste Management Inc.
“(The graffiti) was all over St. Albert, but a fair portion would be through the green space areas along the trails,” Kading said, adding graffiti was discovered on surfaces such as utility and mail boxes.
She said the words or symbols written, commonly referred to as a tag, were not gang related. She did not comment on what the tag consisted of as publicizing the tag could give notoriety to the vandal.
Kading said RCMP are actively investigating other incidents of graffiti and expect to lay charges shortly.
Police joined forces with several community organizations, including Citizens on Patrol, Neighbourhood Watch and St. Albert Family and Community Support Services, in 2011 to put an end to graffiti.
Kading couldn’t comment on whether graffiti incidents have decreased since then, but said it is becoming less visible in the community because there is a stronger effort to remove it.
“St. Albert is a beautiful city and … we don’t want these kinds of eyesores around,” she said.
St. Albert Family and Community Support Services operates a program where individuals who report graffiti on their property can obtain a coupon to help cover the cost of removal.
If graffiti is not promptly removed, it can encourage other vandals to make their mark.
“If we have a community where we don’t clean up vandalism, we don’t clean up the graffiti, the message is that nobody cares, therefore, that can lead to people doing more graffiti,” Kading said.
Individuals who see graffiti are encouraged to contact the St. Albert RCMP at 780-458-7700. More information is available at www.stalbert.ca/graffiti.
The youth is set to make her first appearance on these charges in St. Albert Provincial Court April 2.