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Kelowna RCMP are investigating a possibly hateful message after anti-semitic graffiti was found on a local building.
The vandalism was brought to the attention of police on Tuesday and RCMP are now are in discussions with Staples, the business the graffiti was discovered on.
According to Corp. Jesse O’Donaghey, the swastika that was spray painted on the building would legally be considered vandalism, not hate speech. Despite that clarification, he acknowledged the personal damage such a symbol, known to convey hatred or discrimination, could cause individuals.
“The RCMP take all matters that may be hate or bias motivated seriously and all incidents such as this are fully investigated by the police,” O’Donaghey explained. “We realize incidents like this have a direct impact on citizens and communities and we encourage the general public to report all incidents such as this to their local police.
“Graffiti vandalism is a crime and should be reported to police immediately, especially if you witness such vandalism in progress.”
O’Donaghey urges people to report all other graffiti vandalism to their local police detachment or city bylaw enforcement officers.
“The key to controlling graffiti is the rapid and consistent removal,” he said. “The prompt removal of the vandals tags sends a message that their activities will not be tolerated, it also removes the notoriety gained. Graffiti left often attracts more graffiti.”
Police also suggest that property owners consider using graffiti resilient paints, video surveillance or motion sensor lights in low lit areas.
O’Donaghey said he is not aware of similar graffiti in the city, although they will be looking into the matter.