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What is graffiti? Is it vandalism or is it art?

It’s vandalism. Graffiti is defined as writings, drawings or symbols applied to any surface without the consent of the property owner, authorized agent, or designate.

The act of graffiti, or tagging, is punishable under the Criminal Code of Canada. If convicted, taggers could face imprisonment or monetary fines.

The RMWB Nuisance Bylaw (Section 2.11) prohibits “…the posting or exhibiting of posters, signs, billboards, placards, writings or pictures upon any fence or wall or any other property or parked vehicle, where the same are accumulated and become dilapidated and unsightly…”

Under the bylaw, property owners could face a fine if graffiti is found on their premises.

Graffiti Wipe Outs
Want to do something about graffiti in your neighbourhood? Organize a Wipe Out event!

A Wipe Out event can be as simple as gathering a few friends/co-workers/family members and selecting a time and date to paint over graffiti together. When you’re done painting, celebrate your hard work and beautification efforts with a pizza party.

Email pulse@rmwb.ca to organize your own Wipe Out event. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo will work with your group to provide the necessary supplies to make your Wipe Out event a success.

Reporting Graffiti

There are two ways to report graffiti:

  1. Through PULSE Online or call PULSE: Wood Buffalo, our after-hours line, at 780-743-7000.
  2. Phone the Parks Department at 780-799-5832, during regular hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If you spot graffiti on public property, be sure to let us know. Our goal is to have a crew member attend to the graffiti within 48 hours.

Preventing Graffiti

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a method used by many organizations to reduce crime by making changes to the physical environment. Here are some CPTED strategies that property owners can implement to reduce vulnerability to graffiti vandalism:

  • Consider that a large, unobstructed wall is like a blank canvas for potential graffiti taggers. Planting a simple row of shrubs or greenery would make your walls less accessible to taggers.
  • Research indicates that artistic murals help curb graffiti because taggers generally won’t tag the work of another artist. A mural also creates an element of beauty in your business area. For more information on installing a mural on your building, email pulse@rmwb.ca
  • One of the best deterrents of graffiti is rapid removal. If your building is defaced with graffiti, removing it within 48 hours will reduce the likelihood of a repeat offence.
  • Buildings that show obvious signs of care taking and upkeep tend to be less susceptible to graffiti. Make sure that there is no debris around your building, empty garbage receptacles regularly, keep landscaping neat and trim, fix any broken signage, and keep the back of your building clear and tidy. By doing these things, you let taggers know that this is a well-cared for building with no place for graffiti.
  • Consider installing surveillance cameras around your building. Other surveillance tactics include keeping the building well-lit and eliminating any hidden spots. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is committed to helping residents and local businesses prevent and remove graffiti to keep our region beautiful. Contact

    pulse@rmwb.ca to learn more about CPTED practices.

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