Graffiti By-Law Compliance

The City of St. Catharines is committed to reducing and eliminating graffiti in our neighbourhoods. Prompt reporting and removal of graffiti is essential in reducing incidents and keeping our neighbourhoods clean. The City has taken steps to make it easy and effective for citizens to take an active role in our fight to eliminate graffiti.

Graffiti Image


The Graffiti Bylaw requires property owners to maintain their property free of graffiti. Properties not maintained free of graffiti will be served notice and are obligated to clean graffiti within the timeline dictated by the notice. The bylaw is not intended to be punitive to property owners victimized by graffiti but rather, it is intended to encourage prompt reporting and removal of graffiti.

When to Call?

Public Property

To report graffiti in progress, call 911.

To report graffiti after the fact:

Once City staff is aware of graffiti on City property all efforts are made to provide removal within one week, and 24 hours in the case of obscene or discriminatory graffiti.

Private Property

To report graffiti in progress, call 911.

To report graffiti after the fact:

  • Phone: 905.688.5601 ext. 1629
  • Online: Fill out and submit a graffiti customer service form
  • In person: Complete a complaint form at Planning and Building Services at City Hall

Reports of graffiti incidents should also be reported to the Niagara Police Service for tracking purposes by calling 905.688.4111, or using their online crime reporting system.

Graffiti Removal Assistance Program

To provide assistance to private property owners victimized by graffiti, City Council created the Graffiti Removal Assistance Program. This program makes funds available to property owners for removal of graffiti on their property. The program will pay property owners 50% of the cost of removal of graffiti up to a maximum payment of $500 and to a maximum of 3 times per year.

Download a copy of the Graffiti Removal Assistance Program Application Form or complete an online application to file an assistance request. For further information on the Graffiti Removal Assistance Programcall 905.688.5601 ext. 3145.

Graffiti Prevention

While prompt removal can discourage further graffiti incidents on a property there are a number of steps owners can use to hamper and prevent vandals. Property owners can prevent graffiti by:

  • Increasing visibility and lighting
  • Using motion or sensor lighting to draw attention to movement after dark
  • Install security cameras to monitor the property
  • Planting vines, shrubs and thorny plants to limit wall access
  • Avoid landscaping and other features that block sightlines around windows and doors; or create hidden spots next to walkways
  • Prevent access to roofs and upper levels by moving vehicles and dumpsters away from walls; and covering pipes that could be used to climb
  • Consider the use of protective coatings for walls
  • Use fencing and other barriers to prevent access and/or through traffic
  • Consider the addition of a mural to an exterior wall to discourage further tagging and vandalism
  • Work with neighbours to remain vigilant and look out for one another
  • Use textured surfaces and limit available surfaces during the design of new additions or buildings


Copyright © 2014 The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines