Answers to your questions around graffiti

Report graffiti online

Quick reporting for graffiti in public spaces

Use this VanConnect form to alert us about graffiti.

Report graffiti on public property

Don't see your question answered here? Phone 3-1-1.

What is graffiti vandalism?

Graffiti vandalism is a concern for cities around world and a growing challenge both in Vancouver and regionally. Graffiti can quickly transform a neighbourhood. It harms local residents, organizations, businesses, and property owners.

Graffiti is vandalism under the law and includes one or more letters, symbols, or marks made on public, private, or other surfaces without permission. Even if done with permission, it must conform our mural guidelines for acceptable forms of art and public notification.

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How do I report graffiti?

It’s important to report graffiti on public or private property to ensure that it’s removed in a timely manner.

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My property has been "tagged" with graffiti. What should I do?

There are several clean-up options available to you, including:

  • Report it to the Vancouver Police.
    • By phone: non-emergency, 604-717-3321
    • Online
  • Remove the graffiti yourself. Remember, as a property owner it is your responsibility to remove graffiti from your building
  • Hire a professional graffiti removal company to remove it for you

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How can I keep my building from becoming a graffiti target?

There are several ways to deter graffiti. Some suggestions are:

  • Use commercial products that make cleaning graffiti easier
  • Apply a protective coating on your walls, which facilitates graffiti removal (but will not repel graffiti)
  • Install motion detector lights to discourage vandals from tagging in the light
  • Keep your property tidy and clean up any graffiti ASAP to deter additional vandalism
  • Eliminate opportunities for vandals to climb onto the roof

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Who is responsible for removing graffiti from public property?

The City of Vancouver is responsible for removing graffiti from public places such as City buildings, light poles, signs, and other public amenities. If you see graffiti on public property, phone 3-1-1 to report it.

There are many features on or around public property that do not belong to the City but are the responsibility of external organizations. For example, the removal of graffiti on a telephone pole or box is the responsibility of Telus. We are working to develop a streamlined and accessible process to report graffiti to these organizations.

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Why is it so important to remove graffiti as soon as possible?

Delays in removal tend to encourage graffiti vandals to expand the graffiti to adjacent properties. In this way, graffiti can act as a magnet and attract more graffiti to the area. Graffiti may still re-occur a few times, be persistent.

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Is graffiti a victimless crime?

Graffiti vandalism is more than just words or symbols sprayed on a wall. If graffiti vandalism is left to spread in our communities it can:

  • Leave the impression that no-one cares about the community
  • Lead to increase crime and vandalism
  • Discourage business and shopping
  • Divert funds from community programs to removing graffiti
  • Affect the sense of safety and security of residents and visitors

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Is graffiti a sign of gang-related activity?

There are many types of graffiti vandalism. It is estimated that less than 1% of all graffiti vandalism in Vancouver is associated with gangs. The most common type of graffiti vandalism is “tagging”, which consists of hand scribbles and sometimes bubble lettering or complex words. 

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I have a mural on my property that has been damaged or vandalized. What should I do?

In the past, Murals served as a major deterrence to graffiti in Vancouver. However, in the last couple of years, many of our city’s murals have been vandalized. Integrated Graffiti Management Program staff will work with local businesses and property owners to address the damaged art works.

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What should I do if I want to paint a mural or get a mural painted on my property?

Learn about our mural program.

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Make an outdoor mural

A mural is a painting, mosaic, or relief artwork applied to exterior walls, facilities, or structures.

More tips for managing graffiti vandalism on your property

  • Apply protective coating on your walls to help with future graffiti removal
  • Install motion detector lights to discourage vandals
  • Move vehicles, dumpsters, and other items away from walls
  • Cover pipes to prevent access to the roof or upper levels of a building
  • Keep your property tidy
  • Commission a mural on a persistently targeted wall

Painted murals are a great graffiti deterrent!

Mural from one of the 2007 contest winners, Stephen Lowe Mural from one of the 2008 contest participants, Larissa Healy Mural from two of the the 2010 contest participants, Denis Nowelski and Carlos Z Mural from one of the 2009 contest participants, Nick Gregson