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Taggers leaving their mark
Graffiti complaints are on the rise, according to Campbell River RCMP.
Over the past few months, taggers have targeted local businesses, schools, the public washrooms at Ken Forde Park, trail signs at both the Myrt Thompson trail and Haig Brown trail, as well as at the Sportsplex, Strathcona Gardens and Centennial Pool.
Insp. Lyle Gelinas said it’s a problem that affects the entire community.
“It’s not out of control (but) graffiti is one of those things when you drive into a community and see it, it’s disturbing,” Gelinas told council Tuesday. “These people who commit these acts like to show off their tags and others will paint over it to out do them.”
Gelinas said the local detachment’s crime analyst has been cataloging the images to compare similarities in the tags.
“Analysis of these incidents revealed several small groups of graffiti offenders were responsible for a vast majority of reported incidents throughout the city,” Gelinas said. “Comparisons between recent incidents with known samples previously left behind helped to connect several established graffiti offenders to multiple recent acts of graffiti.”
Gelinas said one offender, with no known previous ties to Campbell River, had been tagging in several communities on the Island, and was suspected of having tagged multiple prominent locations in the city with large graffiti script.
Other young offenders over the summer have also since admitted responsibility and have been required to clean up and/or pay for the damage they caused.
Gelinas said there are still several graffiti incidents under investigation by the RCMP and anyone who witnesses these crimes or comes across any graffiti should call the Campbell River RCMP detachment at 250-286-6221 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or text anonymously 274637 (CRIMES).
Over the last four months, the RCMP’s police dog Rex and his handler, Cst. England assisted in several incidents. These included: a home invasion involving firearms, numerous drug investigations, break and enters, a missing two-year-old child, suspicious deaths, weapons/stolen vehicle investigation, several assaults including an assault on a police officer, and an assault with a weapon.
Gelinas said the police dog provides a service that cannot be duplicated by officers.
“Human scent left behind by missing children, subjects with medical issues and criminal suspects is unseen by human eyes and undetectable by any type of machine,” Gelinas said. “Rex is able to do task that may take large groups of people significant time and effort in a more efficient manner.”
Sixteen offenders went through the restorative justice program over the last quarter, with offenders between the ages of 42-years-old to 13-years-old.
Offences included ICBC fraud, break and enter, theft under $5,000, assault, mischief under $5,000 and a noise bylaw infraction.
“Agreements with the offenders and the victims consisted of apology letters, volunteer hours and financial reimbursement,” Gelinas said. “The program continues to flourish with the completion of a three-day training course, volunteer training and assisting with RJ’s (Restorative Justice programs) on the reserve.”
Crime stats for May-August
- Three robberies
- Seventy-nine assaults
- Fifty-one break and enters
- Thirteen stolen vehicles
- Seventy-one thefts from vehicles
- Seventy-four drug offences
- One-hundred ninety-three liquor offences
- Twenty-two traffic collisions (none fatal)