Like many Lower Mainland communities, graffiti plagues New Westminster. Typically blamed on ne’er do well Burnaby ruffians (surely our own sons and daughters wouldn’t dare!), here in the West End it seems every lamp post and electrical box is tagged with the “artists'” arcane scrawl. Recently our own back fence was hit. Every inch was marred with gobbledlygook in giant bubble letters. We were furious. How dare those (Burnaby!) scallywags come down our alley and scrawl all over our fence! The offending oeuvre had no discernible message or artistic value, at least not to our eye. As Will stood in the drizzle and spent several cans of black spraypaint to restore our fence, we gnashed our teeth over the little punks who think this sort of thing is fun.
- Never give up – Even though I was terrible at doing graffiti in the beginning I stuck it through because I really wanted it to work out. I wanted to be good at graffiti for some reason. Fast forward to 2008, I am the same way. When I want something not much can or will stand in my way, that’s an awesome trait to have. I never give up I just get pissed off, I mumble and I move forward. I hate being sh*tty at anything so I work long hours so I get good fast at whatever it is I’m into at the present time.
- Resourcefulness – I order to survive in any business and in graffiti you need to be resourceful and have some way to adapt. Many times police would find out about the “artwork” and we had to find new locations to paint on. Part of the process was to scour “spots” (places to paint), under bridges, abandoned walls and so on. I had a pretty good gift for finding graffiti spots all the time. I took that trait and I can usually find a way to make money from any type of topic I start researching from loans, car accessories etc. I can find what many other people cannot find, and make it work. That is a huge skill in a competitive world.
- Dedication – I saw many kids come ago when I was a graffiti artist. Most people where never dedicated to getting good at graffiti, I like some others were. It was important to me that my “pieces” looked good. i tried to make them look as good as possible. I didn’t see the point in writing on walls if it looked like junk. Personally I really wanted to make the place look better not worse. I dedicated lots of my free time to drawing and also painting the “perfect piece”.
I didn’t know this, but the New Westminster police have a graffiti task force. You can report graffiti on the website and sign up to be a graffiti volunteer specialist.
A place that is covered in graffiti and festooned with rubbish makes people feel uneasy. And with good reason, according to a group of researchers in the Netherlands. Kees Keizer and his colleagues at the University of Groningen deliberately created such settings as a part of a series of experiments designed to discover if signs of vandalism, litter and low-level lawbreaking could change the way people behave. They found that they could, by a lot: doubling the number who are prepared to litter and steal.
Volunteers with this program work in cooperation with New Westminster Police and New Westminster Bylaws. They provide education and resources to victims, and encourage merchants and residents to remove tagging and report problems to the police. Our volunteers do not clean graffiti, but do document and photograph graffiti vandalism in hopes of assisting police with information that will lead to an arrest.
Graffiti may never be entirely eradicated. However, incidents of graffiti can be greatly reduced. Most importantly, do not ignore graffiti. The longer it is left, the more costly it will become for you and the rest of the community. Graffiti generates fear of neighbourhood crime, instability, and declining property values.
Email the police at