It's definitely not Picasso

Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - Police may be looking at other ways of controlling the graffiti problem in downtown Amherst.

Responding to questions from commissioner Jack Kline, Amherst Deputy Police Chief Ian Naylor said the installation of cameras is one initiative being considered by the department.

"Step one is to have it cleaned up as soon as possible," Naylor said of graffiti that remains along Station Street. "It is challenging to stop it from happening in the first place, but there are a number of things we can do and cameras are an option."

Installing cameras in the downtown and along Station Street would be costly and there's not indication the town is going to move in that direction.

Kline, however, feels something needs to be done.

"The problem I have is the picture people are getting of Amherst when they pass by on the train. Station Street is a deplorable sight," Kline said. "The graffiti has been there long enough that it has become acceptable."

The former Riddles bar on the street has become a popular target with graffiti artists in recent years with all four sides of long-closed building littered with slogans, scribblings and drawings.

The owner of the building, Walter Wells, has done little to remove the graffiti from the building.

Naylor said it's difficult to remove graffiti at this time of year while cold weather also helps to dissuade graffiti artists from doing their thing.

He said any response would have to include property owners, but he said it's something the police department is continuing to work on.

While he could not be reached on Thursday, Const. Dwayne Pike told the police commission in late 2007 that stopping graffiti would take much more than a law enforcement response.

At the time, Pike said police are more vigilant when it comes to graffiti and suggested there are other options available including increased lighting around target areas, video surveillance and increase awareness of the damage and cost involved in graffiti.

Geographic location: AMHERST

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Recent comments

  • Not Art
    January 18, 2010 - 11:22

    heres the thing ....nothing of what appears on that wall is graffiti, there is a big difference between graffiti and vandalism...crass comments like the one that appear on that wall are not graffiti. Spray painting the word Decoy on a mural like the one on the national Specialty building that a real artist spent a lot of time on is vandalism.

    Almost none of the vandalism that has appeared on the walls of Amherst is art.

  • Jack on the rocks
    January 18, 2010 - 11:21

    Leave it to the APD to play big brother and want to install cameras in sleepy amherst to catch what? Bank Robbers! Assaults! no no no no its Graffiti that we need constant surveillance. br br RIDDLES bar has had graffiti on it ever since that building existed. Jason Warham commented on this article last year, he said that every year its like a newscycle and this hasn't changed. Graffiti has reared its ugly head like Christmas yet again and it appears Riddles is the problem yet again. I imagine like lsat year if a photo of riddles was present we would see it was the same graffi from years previous. br br Cameras graffiti growing problem.....I m yawning APD. See you next year.

  • THEREAL Jack on the rocks
    January 18, 2010 - 11:19

    To Jaunita,we all know the Mr Wells has lots of cash.But you tell me why he should have to pay to clean it up?When and if these little NO GOODS get caught,they or their parents should have to pay not Mr Wells.These liitle punks don't have anything better to do so put them to work and clean it up.Keep your cash Walter.Poster #2 is an imposter of the REAL Jack.Over and out!!!

  • Big Brother 1984
    January 18, 2010 - 11:16

    Stagger...sounds like you've been drinking the kool-aid for a very long time.
    It's because of the who cares attitudes like the one you've expressed that real problems aren't SOLVED and only NEW and more DANGEROUS ONES created.

  • Mom
    January 18, 2010 - 11:07

    Maybe the town should consider putting a curfew in place.
    Young people (18 and under) should be off the street by no later than 11pm.
    Movies let out by then and malls are long closed so there is no reason for teens to be aimlessly wandering around.
    Anyone caught after curfew should be taken to the police department where a parent/guardian is called to come and get them. If no one can be contacted teen spends the evening/overnight at the police station.

  • Mick
    January 18, 2010 - 10:59

    Big Brother 1984: get used to it! Every query you do in google is recorded. Every web page (including this) is cached forever by web spiders like Google. Every plastic transaction you do is recorded. Every major tolls record your licence plate as you pass by. Wireless networks are east to hack. Every cell phone has a camera that can record you without permission. Your property taxes are online. Despite PIPEDA and the Private Act, your personal information is EVERYWHERE e.g. telemarketers. If you are trying not to be monitored by the government, think again. So unless you have something to hide, who cares if you're on camera or not? IMO

  • Rosemary
    January 18, 2010 - 10:57

    I came across several town websites for the states in my searches across the internet. Alot of them are giving graffitti artists an avenue for their art. The town and business owners have sponsored the budding artists to do artistic creations. The towns state what buildings can be painted and then give each young artist an assigned space and some direction. The creations have haulted the bad graffitti and have created some amazing works of art. Some of the towns even hold competitions between their town and neighborng towns. It costs very little to produce and the results have decreased the bad graffitti and provided an outlet for the budding artists to display their works of art. Why could something like this not be done here? Have a sign up registration and let them paint.

  • Big Brother 1984
    January 18, 2010 - 10:53

    The British are coming! The British are coming!
    Do you know how many cameras are on the streets in Britain??!!! People there are videographed on the average 300 times a day there. I'm sure they never saw it coming when something of this nature was proposed there either...and now look. Surveillance cameras! My God! ... and for graffiti no less. You people had better wake up and speak against having these things come in here.
    Small towns around this county are notorious for allowing derelict and burned out structures to remain standing these kids a place to do this. If the property owners have no respect for their own land/buildings and obviously no respect for the towns these buildings are in...can we honestly expect kids to have any? I say make the building owners clean up their act. Could you imagine any of the self-respecting business owners on Victoria St. or South Albion allowing graffiti on their business exteriors? These fly-by-night business people don't give a turd about what their derelict building does to the image of the town and its people. Is there no by-law? Can one not be passed instead of bringing Big Brother into town? I can tell you, if that's allowed to happen you will see them flood this place, and you won't be able to turn around without somebody watching you.
    I'd take the graffiti over government spying any day.

  • Jimjim
    January 18, 2010 - 10:49

    The problem I have is the picture people are getting of Amherst when they pass by on the train. Station Street is a deplorable sight, Kline said.

    Uh huh and the trains are so much better looking with the Quebec graffitti on the,m

    how about this...designate a graffitti friendly building and let the taggers go nuts...the better ones will devote their time to do intricate and welldone graffitti and the sh#tty ones will learn how to be better artists...give them a canvas instead of conviction.

  • Robert
    January 18, 2010 - 10:43

    Curfews don't work. Trust me... I came from a city with an *under 16* curfew of 11pm. It was really just a joke to most folks. Even the police ignored it as it was impossible to enforce. Many police officers themselves had long curfew records. It's an empty threat with no consequence.

  • juanita
    January 18, 2010 - 10:43

    I believe that Mr. Wells should be responsible for all his buildings in and around Amherst. He has the money to buy some paint and clean things up! Every time I walk with my 4 year old son down Station street, He wants to know what the writing on the building says.
    I guess this is not only looks bad for the people that go by on the train!!!!!!!
    What about the other buildings in Amherst?
    I would be happy to help paint these places that are in desperate need of some paint. I am sure there would be others that would volunteer their time to help.

  • Robert
    January 18, 2010 - 10:41

    It has been proven in urban centers that if Graffiti is removed within 24 hours of it being applied the taggers will abandon the building and look elsewhere. It takes a few times, and can be a short term pain, but does work. Perhaps some sort of solution can be derived from something like that.

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:41

    hmmm video cameras in the street? curfews? what will stop the graffitti hordes from destroying amherst. yes riddles has had the same graffiti on it for the past 10 years. I know I walked to work everyday on Casey's hill and there was always graffiti on it. Unless there is some sort of defacing of the murals in town, i'd say there isn't much of a problem.