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Graffiti presence increasing in Mission

Police say vandalism in residential neighbourhoods is on the rise.  - Carol Aun
Police say vandalism in residential neighbourhoods is on the rise.
— image credit: Carol Aun

Police are concerned about the increasing presence of tags around the community.

A tag is considered graffiti, used to establish recognition, create intimidation and mark off turf.

Mission RCMP Const. David Robichaud said he began noticing tags more than eight months ago and has been keeping a journal on markings around Mission.

"They are all over," he said.

There are tags in the commercial areas of town, but Robichaud is mostly concerned about the damage being done in residential neighbourhoods, especially around the 14 Avenue area, west of Cedar Street.

Some people report the mischief to police, but damage to public property, such as lamp posts and hydro boxes is almost never passed on to RCMP.

Police have identified "SFK" and "ESM" as the main groups tagging. Different members have their own signature, but their group's name is usually present.

There are three types of graffiti: a tag, throw up, and masterpiece, Robichaud explained. A tag is simply a signature; a throw up is an enhanced painting of a signature; and a masterpiece is more elaborate — like a mural — with a signature.

Masterpieces are more hidden because it takes a lot longer to do, said Robichard.

Police say offenders are usually between the ages of 16 and 24, and post their work on social media networks, such as Instagram and Facebook.

Spraying graffiti is considered mischief and can lead to criminal charges. Taggers usually carry a back pack with art supplies, such as felt markers, spray pain, paint sticks, rubber gloves, and wax marking sticks.

"It's hard to catch these people. It only takes five to 10 seconds to do a tag."

Mounties are asking the public to help keep the community clean by reporting information that could lead to finding the people responsible for the tags to Const. David Robichaud at 604-820-3565 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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