News   Dec 05, 2023
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Yes this is a great day,a scum tagger was caught in a lane way next to my house by a bike police as he started to spray his dumb signature on a garage door.The A hole even sprayed over a mural on a local store which I thought they werent suppose to due to the "ethnics" of their "art".The police took all his cans and fine that little moron.He dressed like a preppy with a large backpack.I guess more to blend in.City Hall and its useless policy of fining property owners is is so backward its laughable.Make the damn taggers remove the tags or give them the bill to remove it.So simple.
There is this address to mail to:

On the whole though, I've found the responsiveness to graffiti removal requests to be spotty, at best. There seems to be a pervasive sense of indifference and complacency creeping into the city about graffiti, unfortunately. Sometimes it gets removed quickly, other times I have to follow up with several e-mails, often to the local councillor as well, before anything is done. I don't get the sense that people in charge of this city are truly offended by it, on a visceral level, and this is something that I find truly disturbing and I've been trying, in my own way, to fight this in whatever way I can.

What's even more frustrating is that some organizations in the city are better than others in removing it.

The TTC, for example, is not very good at all (see the scratchitti posting at Steve Munro's blog) and I've had to actually threaten to photograph and document instances of graffiti on the system before I've seen them do anything about it. I think I'm now pretty much on a first-name basis with Giambrone over my correspondence with him over this issue.

The Parks department is a bit better (the park across from my house, June Rowlands, is constantly being tagged by the lowlife, wannabe gangster nanny kids from the million dollar homes off of Mount Pleasant), and they generally respond to my clean-up requests fairly quickly. The Beltline and Don trails, meh, not so much, I'm having to bug them about that too. That's my next big project.

The Transportation Department, they're *very* spotty. For example, whenever I've reported tagged concrete light poles and traffic boxes, they have to forward them to either Toronto Hydro or Stacey electric (the contractor that maintains the traffic light boxes). Toronto Hydro, on the whole, doesn't give a rat's ass and I've *had* to send them photos, as well as e-mails to local councillors to shame them into cleaning their act up. Stacey electric, they tend to be on the ball, although even there it's hit and miss. Bridges are another matter, especially the ones over the subway tracks. I think I sent something like a dozen e-mails to Giambrone, a district supervisor at Transportation and several others before I was able to get graffiti cleaned off of the Imperial Street bridge over the Yonge line (they kept arguing back and forth over whose jurisdiction the bridge belongs to, which speaks to a lack of overall coordination as to graffiti removal). I finally cc'ed the lot of them and told them to get their act together or I'd go "media" on them.

The bridges that span over the Don bike trail, those are a nightmare. I've sent many e-mails pleading with them to remove graffiti on a weekly basis, as scum taggers are constantly doing their thing there, and again, spotty results at best (I just haven't had the time to amass the material I need to make a major case). GO transit, as well, has a major problem with tagging at the periphery of Don Yard, and next time I ride down there and nothing's been done, I'll have to quote the graffiti by-law at them and threaten an investigation. Serves them right if the trains start getting tagged as well (something the TTC is learning too, unfortunately).

CP and CN...they're almost useless, I've had to send them literally scores of e-mails before I've seen *anything* done about the garbage sprayed onto the bridges along the North Toronto sub, and the Belleville, Galt, and Mactier subs. But again, they're so slack, that they aren't as vigilant as they should be and not long after a clean-up, I've seen the same garbage reappear.

Scratchitti on the bus shelters, that's a new pet peeve of mine, and I'm working on finding the e-mail addresses I need for that.

So, if you wish to see graffiti removed, you have to work at it, get your hands dirty, and just keep hammering away with detailed, specific complaints and photos. It's the only way to get anything done, as I said above, there *is* a creeping sense of complacency emerging in this city about this issue. It's either dismissed as a nuisance, a part of the urban landscape and thus "you should get used to it" (usually articulated by the Spacing cadet lot), or just simply tossed into a we'll-get-on-it bureaucratic abyss, never to emerge unless you prod them into action.

You *have* to shame, cajole, threaten, document, photograph, and quote the Municipal Code in order to get things done. I've sent anonymous e-mails and letters to deadbeats along the Bayview and Mount Pleasant retail strips (which works, trust me), I've gotten names of supervisors after hours digging through old council documents, contacted police divisions, pretty much anything I could to at least keep things from getting out of hand in my area and the areas I ride my bike in or happen to find myself in (Adam Vaughan's office, for example is useless. Parts of his ward have become a true slum during his tenure). Again, spotty results, but you have to at least try.

In my experience, some councillors, for example (Rae, Del Grande, Kelly, Jenkins, Bussin, Carroll, Filion, Shiner, Grimes, Saundercook, Thompson, Perruzza, Moscoe, Stintz) tend to take it seriously. The middlers (Walker, Mihevc, Ootes, Perks, Giambrone) you have to really goad them. Then there's the true enablers of urban decay: Vaughan, Fletcher, and McConnell who are pretty much useless on the issue, due to indifference, if not outright approval of the activity based on ideological grounds. Know your enemy kinda thing...You learn pretty quickly who's on the ball, who isn't, and how to frame the issue. (Hint: the words 'property values' gets you far).

BIAs, hit and miss. Some really respond to complaints, some don't.

So, that's my straight dope on my own, little efforts to prevent the city from looking like a shithole.

And please, don't even get me started on the postering thing....
Thanks for that - and hardly a little effort as you describe it. Very revealing, but sad to see that my councillor rates so poorly on this issue.
I've got results similar to what fiendishlibrarian got (though I haven't put so much time into it yet). I called the 416-39-CLEAN number and found it just went to the main Access Toronto switchboard -- it doesn't seem to be a dedicated phone number at all. Then when I want to report my list of graffiti locations, I need to talk to my area's park supervisor about the parks, the department of transportation about the traffic signs, etc., etc., etc.

I often appreciate that when I call the city about some issue, I get put in touch with the very person whose job it is to do something about it. But it's not the right approach here. If the city wants to be serious about a grafitti abatement program, there needs to be an office of people who take this calls, gets the info out to the people who do the work, and follow it up.

I haven't looked into the history of the program yet, but it looks like the type of thing you get when someone in governent institutes a program that sounds like a good idea but they don't put any significant funding towards it. Why promise that it will be removed in 24 to 72 hours without putting into place a system that ensures this can/will happen?
fiendishlibrarian you inspired me - this is the only way to get rid of this problem, but more people must follow your fine example.
Some brain damaged idiot tagged much of the west side of Jarvis Street last week from at least Wellesley Street (I haven't been south since this happened) all the way up to Bloor Street. They tagged hydro poles, Bell utility boxes, hydro vaults, apartment buildings, signs, parking meter boxes, construction hoarding, sidewalks etc. often using "Mouse" in the tag. These are worthless, brainless, lowlife losers who partake in this stunningly mindless act of criminal activity.

I'd like to catch one in the act. Just once....
often using "Mouse" in the tag. These are worthless, brainless, lowlife losers who partake in this stunningly mindless act of criminal activity.

Either that, or a misguided memorializer
^^ Well dt, I hope at a minimum you made note of the locations and contacted the appropriate people to get it cleaned up. I find that Rae's office is pretty good about that.

"These are worthless, brainless, lowlife losers who partake in this stunningly mindless act of criminal activity."

Completely agree. Toronto needs to get really tough on these worthless parasites.

I really think that when you catch one of the morons in the act, fine them heavily and make them clean up their own graffiti. I have zero sympathy for people who do this and all they do is create blights and degrade the appearance of our public domain.

And I'm talking about the taggers not necessarily the actual graffiti artists. I was walking pass the flea market on Front St last week and sure enough, some asshole had tagged the mural close to the door.
^^ Well dt, I hope at a minimum you made note of the locations and contacted the appropriate people to get it cleaned up. I find that Rae's office is pretty good about that.

Your post above is incredibly informative. I'll photograph some of the sites today or tomorrow then begin the task of chasing down those who need to know about this via Kyle Rae's office.
Some links to get you started (I won't include Rae's office as that's easily findable from the city site).

Traffic light boxes:
Stacey Electric:

Light poles:
Toronto Hydro Graffiti Removal request form:

Parking kiosks:

Property standards:

Transportation Services:

Transit shelters:
Select "Toronto Street Furniture" from the drop-down menu.
Fantastic, I'm on it! Thanks again :)
One step at a time.....

I haven't really noticed an increase in graffiti but I have noticed an explosion of etchings on windows in TTC vechicles. Usually on ones with no cameras.

I would really, really love to see one of these assholes get caught and absolutely nailed to the wall for this. Only individuals with zero sense of urban pride or respect for their community and others engage in this.

The city and the law enforcement needs to be much tougher on these idiots and actually lay massive charges against someone when caught, so that the message is clear.
Some of the recent graffiti along Jarvis Street between Wellesley & the X site

Click on the thumbnail to enlarge, then click again on the image for full size.