UPDATE: Innisfail RCMP zeroing in on graffiti criminal
INNISFAIL – Mounties are getting closer to finding their man or woman responsible for the pre-New Year’s graffiti spree that damaged the exterior walls of several downtown buildings.
The investigation by Innisfail RCMP is zeroing in on the tags used by the culprit or culprits, which are traditionally unique to each tagger.
“My hope is that there is a person in the community who recognizes the tag,” said Innisfail RCMP Staff Sgt. Ian Ihme. “The graffiti appears to use the letters DRP or BRP.
“Often taggers will write their tag, not only when they graffiti an object but will also doodle it on paper, have it drawn in their rooms, school notebooks, etcetera.”
Local RCMP have been hitting downtown streets and back alleys hard since launching a mischief investigation on Dec. 28 when the graffiti vandalism was spotted by shocked and angered business owners, artists and citizens.
Innisfail Mounties initially said that at least eight local businesses or structures were tagged by graffiti vandals during a spree on the evening of Dec. 27 and through into the next morning.
There are still unconfirmed reports the number of targets could be as many as 22 in the downtown area, including back alleys. Town of Innisfail employees were the initial recipients of graffiti complaints.
Meghan Jenkins, community services director for the Town of Innisfail, said she has since been told that a “bunch” of the unwanted graffiti tags on downtown buildings have already been cleaned up by the property owners.
Jenkins said local artist Karen Scarlett, whose new Ed the Dragonfly mural on the east wall of the old TNT building was damaged by graffiti, wanted to fix her creation on her own.
“We’ll have to make a bit more of a plan on that one,” said Jenkins, adding she is not aware yet of any public buildings that may have been targeted in the graffiti attack.
Since 2022 Jenkins has been working on a public arts policy for the town, one that could include outdoor murals.
Jenkins said she did not believe the recent graffiti will have a significant impact on any future policy.
“I don’t think so. Unfortunately graffiti happens. It’s certainly a consideration in terms of investment and how we set up budgets for an art program,” said Jenkins. “Do we make sure that we have contingencies in place to be able to repair or ensure that we don’t end up with a bunch of murals, and then we aren’t able to properly maintain them?”
She said under the current bylaws it states that if a building is damaged or victimized by graffiti it is the responsibility of the property owner to clean it up.
“It’s kind of an internal discussion to see if there’s a different approach with respect to public art,” said Jenkins.
She did note that while Scarlett’s downtown mural was not a town project it was supported financially by the town’s Community Grant Program.
Scarlett is currently in New York City for work on a new art project and was not available for comment.
Anyone with any information on the identity of the person or persons who committed the graffiti rampage in the downtown core on Dec. 27 or Dec. 28 is asked to contact the Innisfail RCMP at (403) 227-3342.