UPDATE: Officials take six days to remove anti-Semitic graffiti : resident

North Burnaby residents are wondering why anti-Semitic graffiti was still up six days after being reported to police.

On April 28, Joanne Smith discovered someone had scrawled the word “Jews” with a diagonal slash through it on the pavement in the 5700 block of Highfield Drive, just north of Hastings Street and Holdom Avenue.

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Smith, the neighbourhood’s Block Watch captain, said she called Burnaby RCMP that day, and two officers were dispatched to the scene.

They marked the site with police tape, Smith said, so city workers would be able to find it and remove it.

But the scrawl was still clearly visible six days later, according to Michael Coyle, a member of Smith’s Block Watch group.

“Being in front of someone’s house, it could be a targeted thing to the people in that house,” he told the NOW after tweeting a photo of the scrawl on Friday morning. “I don’t record my neighbours’ religion because, why would I? But someone might be targeting them. I don’t know.”

Smith said she gave Burnaby RCMP another call on May 4 to find out why it hadn’t been removed, but she was directed to the city, which had been tasked with the removal.

“I phoned the city, and they said it was on their to-do list,” Smith said.

By the end of the weekend, the writing was gone.

Coyle said seeing the racist graffiti on his own street gave him a “sinking feeling.”

“I was just reading about some (anti-Semitic) guy recruiting in Montreal, and then I saw this,” he said.

Coyle said he had questions for the RCMP about such graffiti.

“I’d be interested to know, how does the RCMP respond to this? How do they categorize it? Is it just graffiti or do they put it into some sort of category for something more.”

Burnaby RCMP spokesperson Daniela Panesar said no suspects have been identified in the case, but incidents of graffiti motivated by hate against an identifiable group are reported to the B.C. Hate Crime Team -- as this incident was.

A call to the city's graffiti coordinator has not been returned.




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