The Kamloops Graffiti Task Force has painted over the equivalent of four soccer fields this year.
Executive director Ronnie Bouvier told council Tuesday the majority of that painting was done on City parks, followed by other municipal property, bylaws non-compliance and private property.
The task force has contracts with Telus and BC. Hydro to paint out their boxes on a fee for service basis. Now she’s trying to get malls on board.
She’s learned that painting boxes and benches in City parks either black or brown seems to deter graffiti vandals. Bouvier estimated 97 per cent of the graffiti she and her crew clean up is “vulgar, blatant vandalism” involving crude drawings, threats and racial slurs.
"Graffiti is vandalism,” she said.
While Bouvier and her four crew members are kept busy trying to clean up the trail of paint left by vandals, she has discovered others are taking it upon themselves to try to wipe out tags and spray painted slurs.
A seniors’ walking group that passes by a Telus box calls her when it’s been marked. Two elementary schools report graffiti in their area. There are even a couple of “phantom” painters who have been painting over tags in Westsyde and Aberdeen on their own volition.
She hired four members of a Thompson Rivers University baseball team for her crew. They worked closely with kids at the North Shore skateboard park, and now they get reports when there are vulgarities sprayed on the ramps.
Bouvier said she has seen a skateboard park painted like surfing waves and she’d like to see that taken on here.
She’s working on getting other mural programs going throughout the city as well.
Even though winter is coming, the graffiti taggers are still at work and they don’t stop even when it gets cold, she said.
The worst months are from April to June.
Bouvier said she’d like to get a citywide anti-graffiti blitz going in April. She also promotes the use of paint coatings that make it tougher for graffiti paint to stick, and wipes that clean tags away.