When walking the streets of downtown Brantford, you notice something different than other cities. Compared to the walls of downtown Guelph or Hamilton, Brantford’s buildings are unusually bare.
“We haven’t had a great deal of it,” says Brantford Mayor Chris Friel about the recent vandalism incidents in the West Street area last week. “We’ve gotten away with it for too long.”
The recent vandalism acts included profanities spray-painted onto the Bell Memorial, along with other incidents on a building on West Street, a vehicle on Dunsdson Street and the use of a black permanent marker on a vehicle on Sheridan Street. Brantford Police cannot comment on whether these incidents are related or not.
These recent vandalism incidents come a couple of months after the recent Wayne Gretzky statue was vandalismvandalized. Mayor Friel was quick to point out the difference between the vandalism incidents.
“The Gretzky statue was simple narcissism," said Friel. “The perpetrators just wanted to be a part of the fanfare.”
Vandalism is labeled under the term “mischief” in the Criminal Code of Canada, and guilty offenders could face probation, community service and/or, under rare occurrences, up to six months jail for first offenders.
There were 67,380 cases of mischief in Ontario in 2012, according to Stats Canada. In the City of Brantford, there were a total of 1206 cases of mischief in 2012, a six per cent increase over the previous year. However, compared to nearby cities, the cases of vandalism, and mischief, are lower. In Hamilton, the municipal police force reported 3, 126 cases of mischief in 2012. In 2009, the Waterloo Regional Police had a total of 3, 256 incidents of general mischief.
Mayor Friel was “stunned” by the level of graffiti in the city of Guelph when he visited the city.
- Responses on twitter were few and far between, but tweets asking to compare people's hometowns to Brantford drew some comments.
- Graffiti in Brantford includes more artistic pieces, with "tagging" just now starting to become more prevalent.
According to Laurier Brantford special constable Trish Tatarka, mischief incidents on the Laurier Brantford campus are few and far between.
“We have a well-light campus,” says Tatarka.
School population size could also have a difference. The larger campus of Guelph University had 180 incidents of mischief in the 2011-2012 school year, according to university police.
Mayor Friel was upset at how long it took for the Bell Monument vandalism to be reported.
“How did no one see it and report it for a couple of days?” said Friel.
When asked if he or City city Council council had any plans to combat vandalism, Mayor Friel said responded, “We’re taking a wait-and-see approach.”
The graffiti has since been cleaned up.
“No community has yet been able to deal [with vandalism],” said Friel.