The March publication of an article about graffiti in Halifax brought to light some inconsistencies in how HRP addresses graffiti in our communities and raised some concern from citizens about HRP’s role in managing graffiti. To help address these inconsistencies and citizen concern, we have clarified our position and role in managing graffiti internally, which is:
The focus for Halifax Regional Police under the municipal Graffiti Abatement Plan is illegal graffiti – writing, drawing or symbols applied to any surface without the permission of the property owner, which constitutes property damage (defined as Mischief under Section 430(1) of the Criminal Code). We encourage people to report these incidents. From time to time, our enforcement efforts related to illegal graffiti may require us to examine commissioned artwork; however, it's not our focus.
The references to hip hop graffiti and hip hop culture by an HRP officer who appeared in the article were intended to describe a particular style of graffiti. We now recognize and appreciate that the comments could be understood as misguided and wide-sweeping, if not racially biased. That was not the officer’s intent. As a follow up, we’ve reviewed the concerns with the officer and, overall, will continue to ensure clarity and consistency in our response to graffiti.