The city of Hamilton is looking into new ways to combat the rise in graffiti on both city property and private residences. A motion was put forward by Coun. Sam Merulla during the city council meeting of Feb. 8, which aims to create a more proactive approach to the problem. In the past, city council had created the Keep Hamilton Clean and Green committee to try to combat graffiti, and Hamilton police continue to respond to reports of vandalism.
But one of the ideas put forward during the meeting involved the creation of “graffiti zones” where local graffiti artists will be permitted to display their work without vandalising any property.
Merulla said, “Some of it is art, so part of this motion incorporates the development of trying to identify certain areas of the city where those that truly have a skill can show their art and display it accordingly.”
Coun. Matthew Green said, “One of the solutions put forward in our Youth Advisory Huddle is exactly what Councillor Merulla is moving to, a graffiti zone where they can work on art and have an outlet for some of this behaviour.”
Another concern raised during the meeting was the cost to victims of graffiti vandalism. Under the current bylaws, homeowners are responsible for removing any graffiti within 19 days or risk large fines. The motion considers investigating the feasibility of creating a victim assistance program for property owners who are continuously victimised.
Coun. Tom Jackson said, “Our current bylaw tells those homeowners who are victims of crime, we victimise them a second time by sending them a stern letter saying that in 19 days if you don’t clean it you have a $10,000 fine.”
From here the motion will be sent to the public works committee so investigations into feasibility can be conducted and a full report for council can be created.