From The Calgary Sun
Fed up with hooligans destroying residential and business property with graffiti, the city will be installing new technology likely next month to help catch them in the act.
Bylaw boss Bill Bruce said the cameras, installed at graffiti trouble spots throughout the city, will be able to detect who is committing the crime through high resolution photos and aid investigations.
And in November, Calgary was rocked when vandals spray-painted swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans on a number of sites in Woodbine and Pump Hill, including a synagogue and Holocaust war memorial.
Basically the City of Calgary is looking to use a bunch of high resolution surveillance cameras and invest the manpower to catch a small group of street artists. While not a fan of the habit of those who ‘tag’ their sign/name all over the place, I’ll happily confess that it’s cool seeing full on artistry in a lot of these spots. Given the choice between a boring bare cold wall in a back alley and seeing some street art, I’ll take the art please.
And perhaps instead of spending thousands on cleaning up the graffiti and providing a fresh blank slate, I think the money would be much better spent putting up a mural of just about any kind.
That the city would spend the money and resources on graffiti is just ridiculous to me. That they’d cite the incidents with the swastikas is darkly cynical. For those who don’t recall, there were cameras in place at one of the graffiti sites that showed the vehicle they pulled up in along with the the person who did it. No one has been caught. What concerns me more though is that the city is willing to expend these resources to catch a small group of street artists who are committing at worst light property damage, but didn’t commit those same resources to catch members of the Aryan Guard in acts of violence and intimidation against citizens of Calgary.
This priority of property over people should concern any citizen of Calgary. That it would commit itself to a ridiculous cycle of trying to catch street artists and repainting and repainting commercial property is short sighted in the extreme. So long as we live in urban settings bereft of colour and character, people of all ages will do *something* to change that, whatever the nature of their expression.
There are a lot of things one can say about graffiti. Tagging the front door of a business is vandalism in my books. But there’s also a lot of artistry and heart that goes into some of it.
If you have an opinion about graffiti, all I’d ask is that you watch this video from Youtube before making up your mind.
When I poked @CityOfCalgary on Twitter about it, they responded with
I think this response is disingenuous at best. I think the vast majority of Calgarians are unaware of graffiti abatement programs, and aren’t being offered alternatives. I don’t think the City is even looking at alternatives. This knee jerk desire to just install more cameras in our city is an unwelcome pursuit of a police state. I don’t want to live in a city where I’m constantly be watched by those set to govern over me. I want to know I can take a walk with my wife, and stop and kiss her in a doorway or under a tree, without some bureaucrat leering over our shoulder.
Contact your alderman, and ask them to find a new way to address graffiti. There are many more palatable options available than turning our beautiful city into a bristling police state of cameras and pervasive surveillance.