Graffiti in the downtown core is down significantly thanks to an ongoing cleanup program.
From 2010 to the end of 2012, there was a 78-per-cent decrease in graffiti in downtown Maple Ridge, said Ineke Boekhorst, executive director of the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association.
She chalks up the significant decrease to the BIA’s persistence in getting rid of graffiti within 24 hours of its appearance.
Several anti-graffiti measures have been put in place in the downtown area, but the most effective measure is to remove it as soon as possible, thereby discouraging other taggers.
“The sooner it is removed, the less graffiti we have,” Boekhorst said.
Graffiti artists tag public places to voice their ideas and opinions, and the longer it stays on, the longer their message is seen by the public.
When the BIA was established in 2007, there was a lot of graffiti in the downtown area, she said, so their efforts to remove it quickly began almost at the inception of the organization.
The BIA offered to paint over any graffiti in the downtown core, as long as the business provided the paint.
One Maple Ridge real estate office was tagged three nights in a row. Each day, the realtors painted over it, and finally after the third night, the taggers didn’t come back, Boekhorst explained.
Graffiti removal companies charge a lot, Boekhorst said, so helping paint over tags supports the smaller businesses who often can’t afford to pay someone for the service.
“The cost to the small business is enormous – labour and cost,” she said.
But large graffiti tags on buildings are minimal these days, Boekhorst said.
Lynne Bradley, in charge of the BIA’s core area patrol, still walks around Haney with a container of wipes to clean off metal poles, mailboxes, and hydro boxes where taggers strike regularly.
If graffiti is left on a building after a week, the business can be ticketed by the Maple Ridge bylaw office.
Any downtown business that needs help getting rid of graffiti can call the BIA for help at 604-467-2420.
@ Copyright 2013