Lighting: Use motion sensor lights, cage lights
to prevent breakage, and twilight-to-dawn solar lights that are
securely fastened, depending on location.
Art, Tagging and Graffiti: Prevent taggin by
commissing a grafitti artist to do a mural (after asking permission
to do so from the landowner).
Vehicles: Cement abutment and or wire post
barriers are available from City of Calgary, call 3-1-1 for further
information, to prevent people from driving vehicles into the
Positive Loitering: For people hanging around,
talk to them, open a conversation, take an interest, and invite
them to come to garden on a specific upcoming date. This
makes gardeners no longer strangers and real people with
Engage the Calgary Police Service (CPS) as a
partner: Contact your CPS district office to find
out who your Liaison Officer is. Phone CPS when destructive
garden vandalism occurs, drug deals are observed or suspicious
behavior noted. Garden vandalism may be part of larger series of
Water prank vandalism: Lock off external water
access or place a timer on the inside of the building. Lock up
cisterns so they can't be drained overnight.
Weekly Garden Monitor: Have each gardener take
one week during the growing season. As Garden Hero /
Garden Angel / Groundskeeper during that week he/she visits the
garden each day and takes a careful look around to check on
things. Report any vandalism immediately to police and to
Fences: are not a solution to vandalism
because they do not deter vandals. The City of Calgary will
allow a fence on property to keep out wildlife only and posted
messages on fences with appropriate approval (call 3-1-1).
Preview City signage bylaws before posting
Eyes on the Garden: Act on the goal that by
June every garden member has met and can recognize all the other
Host a social open house for people living in neighbouring
condos, apartments, single family homes bordering on the garden and
invite them to report any suspicious behavior they see.
Arrange public seating for people to stop by to enjoy the view
of the garden.
Make the community garden look like home, with
a defined perimeter and evidence of frequent activity.
Use the garden for other activities such as
picnics, seniors' tea, storytelling, nature crafts, juice-making,
seed saving, meditation, coffee gatherings...
Recovering from Vandalism: Rally round the
gardeners who are most affected. Offer to share produce or
help repair damage. Commiserate with them and put into place
the recommendations above. Involving all gardeners in putting
preventative solutions into place encourages their desire to
monitor the garden, motivation to meet all the garden members so
they can recognize each other and recruit more eyes on the
garden. Media coverage of vandalism does not increase the
frequency of vandalism.
Avoiding Temptation: Do not plant tomatoes,
peas or set up attractive trellises. These are vulnerable to
theft and vandalism. Grow tomatoes in containers at home (on a back
step or balcony). Kids practicing vandalism seem to be drawn to be
destructive with onions, carrots, beets and tomatoes.
Avoid planting in rows. Use companion gardening
and high yield gardening methods (such as square foot gardening)
because this dense, layered vegetation can confuse some potential
thieves and make crops less recognizable to the
Plant less familiar vegetables such as
kohlrabi, kale, and collard greens. They all grow well
here. Many vandals / thieves don't know what they are.
If there are homeless individuals in the area, engage
them. They are very unlikely to be vandals or
thieves and in some gardens help care for garden beds when others
Next Topic: Theft