• Municipal Enforcement

Private & Public Property

As a citizen of Okotoks, you have rights regarding your private property and responsibilities while using public property.

Recreational Vehicle Parking

Parking Recreational Vehicles (RV’s) in Residential Neighborhoods

A “recreation vehicle”  is a vehicle or trailer that is designed, constructed and equipped, either temporarily or permanently, as an accommodation for travel, vacation, or recreational use, whether licensed or unlicensed, and includes, but is not limited to, the following:

 

a) travel trailers/tent trailers

b) motorized homes & conversions

c) slide-in camper

d) chassis-mounted camper

e) boat

f)  all-terrain vehicle

g) snowmobile

h) utility trailer

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can I store my recreation vehicle (trailer/motorhome/boat) on my front driveway?

Answer: No, recreation vehicles may only be parked on the front driveway for a period of up to 72 hours for loading and unloading and must be parallel to the sides of the driveway, cannot encroach onto the sidewalk, curb or roadway, and must not create a hazard for pedestrians or motorists. Recreation vehicles may be stored on private property at any location other than in a front or side yard adjacent to a roadway (ie: a back yard).

Question: Where can an RV be parked?

Answer: Along with the provision to park an RV on a front driveway for up to 72 hours, they can also be parked on the street for up to 72 hours but must be hitched to the pulling vehicle the entire time. After 72 hours, the RV must be removed from town limits for a minimum of 48 hours before returning.

Question: I want to park my RV in my backyard, but would need to cross the boulevard to do this. Is this permitted?

Answer: Yes, to cross a boulevard or any other landscaped public lands to access your private property (back yard), you must obtain an Open Space and Rights of Way Access Permit by completing the Park Access Permit Form and returning it to Town of Okotoks Operations Centre, 1112 North Railway St. Permit fees do apply.

Graffiti

The Town of Okotoks is proud of their numerous parks, extensive pathway system, beautiful architecture and thriving business district. However, this pride is threatened by graffiti, which decreases the Town’s aesthetic appeal and diminishes the sense of security in our community. When graffiti is not removed, it attracts more graffiti and other forms of vandalism and crime.

What is Graffiti?

Generally, graffiti can be defined as the defacing of public or private property by painting, drawing, writing, etching or carving without the property owner’s permission. The offence under Mischief found in the Criminal code of Canada gives police the power to lay charges for graffiti related incidents. The word Graffiti comes from the archeological term for Graffito which is defined as ancient drawing or writing scratched on a wall or other surface. Graffiti has gone through many changes throughout history, from the caveman’s drawings on the walls, to markings on ancient Greek pottery. Graffiti has evolved from occasional writing on the bathroom walls and back alleys to a group of persons who seek to gain notoriety and recognition by marking buildings and any object that presents a canvas for their markings.

How Graffiti Affects Our Community

Graffiti is more than just words or symbols that are sprayed or painted onto a surface. Graffiti is an act of vandalism that costs thousands of dollars every year to remove or cover up. Every dollar spent on eradicating graffiti is a dollar that could be more appropriately used on other programs. Areas filled with graffiti are less appealing to those who may be looking to buy or rent property. Property becomes more difficult to sell and property values are reduced. If not immediately removed, graffiti sends out a message that “nobody cares “about the area. It also causes the area to look unsafe and makes people concerned about their personal well being. Graffiti creates on open invitation for more littering, loitering and additional graffiti. Unfortunately, it may also lead to an increase in other crimes and acts of violence.

The Broken Window Theory supports that if a broken window in a building is left unrepaired, the other windows will eventually also be broken. An experiment to test this theory was performed by Wilson and Kelling (1982), where a car was abandoned in two neighbourhoods – one respectable and the other run down. In both of the neighbourhoods, the car was vandalized, showing that vandalism can occur anywhere once informal social controls are lowered by signals that nobody cares. The authors also suggests that untended behaviour can lead to breakdown of community controls (i.e. if a place is left untended, weeds will grow, windows may be smashed, young people will congregate, public drinking may occur, etc). This breakdown may not lead to increased levels of crime, however it will lead to increases in residents’ perceptions of crime. The levels of disorder will lead them to assume that crime, especially violent crime, is rising, and making them feel less secure and more fearful. The suggested result of this is that people will avoid using the streets, pathway systems and have less contact with others, thus reducing community bonds, and instilling individual’s isolation. The result of this is that these environments also make a neighbourhood more vulnerable to crime. This shows how graffiti can contribute to the overall problems and perceptions of crime in a community.

Graffiti Tagger Profile

Gender: The large majority of taggers are male, with females most often associated to Bubble gum graffiti and more interested in having their name involved in the graffiti.

Age: For tagging the age ranges are 10‐24years. Most taggers get their beginning from school exposure to the sub‐culture and will tag their school before tagging other locations as they develop; those in their 20’s are often a developed tagger preferring rail cars and walls that offer a canvas for their work.

Background: Taggers generally do not reflect any specific socio‐economic or racial background but most Hip Hop taggers are from Middle to Upper class families. They will usually be linked with skateboarding, BMX biking, marijuana and Hip Hop Music.

How to spot a tagger:

a. Clothing is baggie and loose. Baggie sweatshirts with hoods and baseball hats often covered in paint.

b. Pants with pockets for felt markers.

c. Backpack full of spray paints and graffiti tools.

d. Out late at night and early morning. Taggers work mostly under cover of darkness, dusk to dawn.

e. Graffiti / Doodling on personal items, school books, skateboards, under brim of their baseball hat, etc.

f. Graffiti and Hip Hop posters up in their room and reads graffiti magazines.

g. Have a wide variation of markers for graffiti and “Hello my name is” or postal stickers and spray paint.

h. Multiple spray can heads, Caps, Fat, Skinny refer to interchangeable spray can nozzles to allow for various spray width and coverage.

i. Has a sketchbook (Piece book) for practice.

j. Schoolbooks have repetitive scrawling, graffiti and/or cartoon like drawings on them.

k. Racking, the graffiti term for stealing spray paint, markers and other graffiti tools/supplies.

l. Carries camera and photographs graffiti.

m. Uses the internet to access pro graffiti websites and post on forum sites and communicate with other taggers. Often they use school computers to do this.

Why Do They Tag?

Fame within the graffiti sub‐culture, a means of expressing their opinions, attitudes, emotions and doing this outside the norm comprising of 4 main elements:

a. Recognition: 1. Low self esteem. 2. Peer recognition. 3. For recognition, a distorted view of fame. 4. See graffiti in the community and want to try it.

b. Anti‐Authority: 1. A way to rebel against authority 2. To get out their aggression.

c. Artistic Ability: 1. Some are very talented artistically and this is their way to express themselves and develop and practice their ability. 2. Some think they are artistic.

d. Addiction: 1. Becomes an obsessive‐compulsive disorder. They are addicted to "Getting Up" which is tagging throughout the community, as well as to paints, markers and tagging.

If You Are A Victim Of Graffiti

If your property has graffiti you can contact Okotoks Municipal Enforcement Services at 403-938-8913 or the Graffiti Hotline 403-995-2779 and have a Peace Officer attend to document the graffiti. They will take a report and photograph the graffiti. This information is put in the Okotoks Municipal Enforcement database for investigation and tracking purposes. You can also take a digital photo of the graffiti and email it or drop it off at the Southridge Emergency Services Building.

Okotoks Parks are the most common targets for graffiti, including Sheep River Park, Howard Park, Wylie Athletic Park, Ethel Tucker Park and the Okotoks Skateboard Park. Most graffiti incidents are limited to the inside of public washrooms and under the cover of night which makes it extremely difficult to find the offenders and prosecute them. The majority of graffiti incidents reported have no known suspects or witnesses and are discovered in the early morning hours.

Utility boxes throughout Okotoks have also become a favourite target for graffiti vandalism. The utility boxes that have been tagged seem to be in high pedestrian traffic areas within close proximity to the pathway systems, parks, convenience stores and schools.

Some tags throughout Okotoks turn up on a more frequent basis, but unfortunately not in distinct traceable patterns or locations. Most of these tags are written with graffiti markers or Jumbo Jiffy markers, which take seconds to write.

The Town of Okotoks Operations and Open Spaces Teams are diligent in cleaning up graffiti vandalism on Town property and utility boxes. Through partnerships and initiatives set out by Okotoks Municipal Enforcement, the goal is to limit and control the amount of graffiti vandalism within our community.

How You Can Help

1. Report existing graffiti by phoning Municipal Enforcement at 403-938-8913.

2. If you see graffiti being applied, it is a crime in progress, call 9-1-1 immediately to report it.

3. The quick removal of graffiti is the most effective means to prevent further acts of vandalism, so property owners should remove graffiti within 24 hours after it appears. This will prevent the offender from receiving the fame and recognition they desire when other taggers see their “Tag” and reduce the likelihood that it will spread.

4. Volunteer your time, donate supplies, or help in any way you can to eliminate graffiti in your community.

5. Get organized! Form a neighbourhood graffiti removal crew. Involve young people in the clean up.

6. Adopt a street, park, school, church, or business that is a target for graffiti vandalism. In addition to removing graffiti, consider planting trees, bushes or flowers that may deter graffiti.

7. Have a neighbourhood meeting on graffiti vandalism to discuss the effects: on victims, costs and possible solutions.