Sign up

Graffiti Prevention

As a parent, you know the chances are pretty good that one day you will find crayon scribbles on your living room wall. But when does that innocent scribble cross the line into illegal graffiti?

Graffiti vandalism is figures, letters, drawings or stickers applied, scribbled, scratched, etched, sprayed or attached to the surface of any property without the permission of the owner.

What may seem like an innocent expression of artistic talent may lead down the road to criminal charges and long-term health affects such as respiratory problems.

What to look for to know if your young person is involved:

  • Unexplained paint or marker on their hands or clothing.
  • Scribbled markings on their personal items or within the house.
  • They have a ‘black book.’ A sketchbook used to plan potential graffiti and collect tags from other vandals.

Individually, these check points may not mean your young person is involved with graffiti vandalism, but multiple indicators may mean you need to look a little deeper into your child’s activities.

If you believe your young person may be involved, watch for the markings they may be making in places in your home, such as school notebooks, and match them to any around your neighborhood. Check for cans of spray paint or markers that you did not buy for them and ask to see the art they are creating with it. And support your child’s creativity by enrolling them in art programs offered through The City of Calgary.

Graffiti without permission is an act of vandalism that costs millions of dollars to remove, or cover, every year. Communities filled with graffiti vandalism are less appealing to home buyers or renters, resulting in decreased property values.

But there is something you can do about it. If you see someone doing graffiti, call 9-1-1 to report a crime in progress. If you see graffiti vandalism after it has been done, record the location, type of property it is on and if possible, take a photograph. Then call 3-1-1 to report it and to have it removed. The quicker it is removed, the less likely it will be to re-appear.

For more information on what to look out for, how it can affect your child and what you can do about graffiti in your community, visit

Rick Hanson is the Chief of Police for the Calgary Police Service.


Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2024 Calgary’s Child