Community Peace officer Fernando Paganelli

Volunteers attack graffiti mess

Downtown Red Deer was given some tender, loving scrubbing on Saturday.

Downtown Red Deer was given some tender, loving scrubbing on Saturday.

Armed with cleaners and wipes, about 50 volunteers removed the graffiti mess along 12 blocks in the city’s core as part of the inaugural Graffiti CleanUp Day.

“Red Deer is growing and the problems are growing as well,” said Fernando Paganelli, community peace officer. “Graffiti is one of the problems for Red Deer and it is been a problem for a while.”

Paganelli said the best way to curb graffiti is to do it together.

Volunteer Laurie Carlson did not mind doing her part because she said it’s important to show everyone that residents care about the city.

“And that we’re willing to work a little bit to make it a better place for all,” said Carlson.

“As long as it comes back, I will come back to clean it off.”

While the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre (CACPC)’s youth community action team has been removing graffiti as random acts of kindness all summer, organizers wanted to wrap up the season with a cleaning day involving the community.

The group was cleaning on average 10 to 12 areas across the city each week.

The CACPC, the city, the Downtown Business Association and the local RCMP led the charge with the cleaning on Saturday.

TerryLee Ropchan, CACPC executive director said they wanted to have something to complete the summer with community involvement.

“To clean up the downtown that probably hasn’t been cleaned up before,” said Ropchan.

“Have all the graffiti cleaned and pick up all the garbage. We’re hoping this will set a precedent and not just be in the downtown. That we could also focus on other areas.”

Paganelli said the community peace officers cannot be everywhere so he encourages residents to keep their eyes and ears open.

He encourages parents to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour and the appearance of spray cans. The city’s graffiti reporting hotline is 403-356-8908. Graffiti wipes are for sale at the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre (108-4711 51st Avenue).

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