Recently, in just one day, Fort Langley resident Bryan Miller found 30 examples of graffiti in a one-kilometre area around a local high school.
Those he could clean off, he did, but some were on concrete and they required a call to the Township of Langley, he said.
“It’s everywhere,” Miller told the Langley Advance Times.
Miller has launched an online petition on change.org, “New Bylaw to Combat Graffiti,” which calls for a ban on sales of spray paint cans to underage buyers.
He is proposing a Langley Township bylaw that would require a purchaser to show ID proving they are 18 years of age or older, and requiring sellers to store the cans in locked cases to eliminate shoplifting, which Miller has been told by retailers, is often how under-age “taggers” acquire spray paint.
“Stow it away and lock it up, and ask for ID,” is how Miller summed up his suggestion.
Miller, who established a website, Your Local Community, to encourage people to take the “pick-up pledge” and volunteer to tidy up their communities, is asking Langley residents to keep an eye out for examples of graffiti and forward pictures of the same to him at www.yourlocalcommunity.ca.
Over the last six month, Miller reports graffiti in Fort Langley has become a growing problem.
He has cleaned up multiple instances of tagging, and two weeks later, returned to see all the surfaces have been spray-painted again.
He thinks it is the work of “misfits with nothing to do” during the pandemic.
“Tagging comes to be their hobby.”
In addition to age limits, Miller said, there should also be tactical measures like painting fences, that have been repeat graffiti targets, a single solid color to make it easier to cover up vandalism.
It is expensive to have city crews clean up tagging, Miller noted.
“For me, it’s 15 minutes of my time and a $5 product,” Miller commented.
“For the Township, its a two-man crew, a couple of hours and $400.”
Miller is scheduled to appear before Langley Township council on March 8 to make a case for banning sale of aerosol spray paint cans to anyone under the age of 18.
Without an age limit, Miller warned, it will not be possible to slow the spread of graffiti.
“Were losing,” Miller maintained.
All anyone has to do is take a look while they are out an about, and they will see how severe the problem has become, he remarked.
“Take a look around.”
Some Canadian cities have set limits on sales of spray paint.
London, Ont., passed a bylaw in 2006 to crack down on graffiti, reportedly the first of its kind in Canada. Under the bylaw, retailers who sell “graffiti implements” to minors are subject to fines of up to $5,000.
In Winnipeg, a person may not sell spray paint to a minor unless the minor is accompanied by his or her parent or guardian who approves of the purchase.
In many states in the U.S., it is illegal to sell spray paint to anyone under 18, or for anyone under 18 to possess the paint in many states.
Texas bans the sale of spray paints and other volatile chemicals to anyone under the age of 18 and New York bans sales to anyone under 21.
Chicago banned the sale of spray paint within the city limits in 1992. The ban was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1995.
In England and Wales, the owner of the business, as well as the person who made the sale, may be charged if a sale of an aerosol paint container is made to a person under 16.
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