Calgary, AB,

Police ask for help to identify vandalism suspects

20-07-29 Sacred Heart Graffiti Suspects

Graffiti always hurts people whose properties are damaged, but the harm can be even greater if the message or placement of it makes the victims think they were targeted because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or another personal characteristic.

We are currently investigating a case where graffiti has made people feel targeted because of their religion and we hope the public can help us identify those responsible.

Around 1:30 a.m., on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, two people spray painted the body and head of a statue of Jesus Christ outside of Sacred Heart Church, located at 1307 14 St. S.W. The two then left the scene and the graffiti was not seen until the next day.

Our Hate Crimes Coordinator initiated an investigation as soon as we were made aware of the incident and we are releasing CCTV footage and photos in an attempt to identify the suspects.

“Graffiti can cause real harm to people’s sense of safety and can make them feel like someone out there is intent on harming them,” said Constable Craig Collins, Hate Crimes Coordinator for the Calgary Police Service. “Targeting a specific person’s property or painting things like racial slurs and swastikas is not just graffiti, it sends a message that certain people are being singled out for ill treatment by others in our community.”

Graffiti is a criminal offence that, like any other criminal offence, can result in a stiffer sentence if there is evidence that it was motivated by hate. When religious properties are targeted with graffiti because of bias, prejudice or hate, a person can also face an additional charge under the Criminal Code of mischief to religious property.

Anyone with information about the incident or the individuals involved is asked to contact us by calling 403-266-1234. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers through any of the following methods:

TALK: 1-800-222-8477
APP: “P3 Tips” app

Hate-motivated crimes are recognizable crimes, like assault, theft, vandalism or any other crime, where the offender was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate that is based on one of nine personal characteristics of the victim.

The hate motivation is considered by the courts after a person is found guilty of the crime. If the judge decides during sentencing that hate was a motivation for the offence, it is an aggravating factor that can add to the convicted person’s sentence.

Case # 20282644/4771