Police are attempting to target taggers following a rash of graffiti incidents in southeast Newmarket earlier this month.
York Regional Police is investigating several incidents of tagging on public and private property in the area, including College Manor, Silken Laumann and Mulock drives, Stonehaven, McBean and Bayview avenues and Heddle Crescent.
The Magna Centre, College Manor Park, a garage, a Canadian Pacific Railway cube van, Canada Post mailboxes and hydro and utility boxes were vandalized. Some of the incidents are believed to have taken place between July 20 and 21.
Based on the style and some of the tagging, it appears the incidents are connected, York Const. Laura Nicolle said. “We are still investigating, but, at this time, we do not have any suspects.”
School bus driver and Newmarket resident Chris Nicitpoulos, who regularly trains colleagues in the area, says the neighbourhood is typically very quiet.
“It’s a good neighbourhood,” she said, while parked near a tagged mailbox. “I don’t usually see this around here.”
The town recently released a report on the cost of graffiti removal within the municipality. According to the document, the town spent $28,038 on graffiti removal on municipally owned property in 2013, up from $22,710 in 2012. Newmarket has budgeted $20,000 for graffiti removal this year.
There are three main factors blamed for the hike: a decision to remove paint in areas that are not normally addressed within the municipality, excessive tagging and ongoing vandalism of public art along the Tom Taylor Trail.
“Officers are frequently called to complaints of damage to property from local homeowners, business owners and building contractors who report mischief to their property involving graffiti,” Nicolle said. “Taggers, as they are commonly referred to, place a marking or name on various types of property. They believe that these markings are artistic, however, their actions cause thousands of dollars of damage to the property of innocent victims and taxpayers.”
In the most recent cases, the names NSK, CMG, SNARE and CREW ONE are prevalent.
Ward 2 councillor candidate Doug Crosse submitted several pictures of the damage to The Era and says graffiti is becoming more prolific in the area in recent years.
“(It) just seems to be really piling up on post, hydro and cable (boxes) — and now bigger targets,” he said.
Others agree. Ward 1 councillor candidate Wanda Cena — who provided pictures of tagging damage at Magna Centre’s east entrance and a few other areas of her ward — says there’s plenty of graffiti on display in that section of town, as well as the Main Street area.
“In Stonehaven, there’s been an increase in vandalism … and other disgusting acts,” she said.
Residents can take several measures to protect their properties. Exterior areas should be well-lit and the use of video surveillance can be considered. Pictures of the damage should be snapped and incidents must be reported to police, Nicolle said.
“Graffiti has a negative effect on our communities in many ways,” she said. “It contributes to reduced property value, a decline in commercial sales, increased crime rates in affected areas, wasted tax dollars for clean up and decreased use and enjoyment of public facilities. It diminishes citizens’ feelings of safety and security.”
Anyone with information on the tagging can call police at 1-866-876-5423.
Article source: http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/4727559-graffiti-a-growing-problem-in-newmarket/