Town of Sutton experiencing acts of vandalism and implements action plan

Pictured are five different instances of vandalism. The first photo shows spray paint on a brick wall of the John Sleeth building in Sutton. The second photo shows a bathroom with broken mirror with glass in the sink. The third photo shows the back window of the First Responders car smashed in. The fourth photo shows spray paint on a bench. The last photo shows a memorial rock at the natural spring site covered in spray paint.
The Town of Sutton has experienced various instances of vandalism over the last month causing concern. Photo courtesy Town of Sutton.
Taylor McClure - CIDI - KnowltonQC | 06-09-2022
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Over the last month, the Town of Sutton has experienced a number of instances of vandalism that has touched most of the village, including Parc Goyette-Hill, the natural spring site, and commercial buildings. 

The town has been working with the Sûreté du Quebec (SQ) to have a larger presence in the village and to find the individuals responsible. To further address the problem, town council has also established an extensive action plan that involves sensitizing citizens to vandalism and collaborating with families to see what can be done to avoid it. 

“This is really the first time there is this number of vandalism in the town. It started about three or four weeks ago and it has been building up lately,” said Robert Benoît, mayor for the Town of Sutton. “It has taken place in different locations, starting with Parc Goyette-Hill.”

Those responsible vandalized the bathrooms at the park, including breaking the mirrors. 

“In this instance, we had cameras and we caught the people who did it. The Sûreté du Quebec is taking charge of this incident, but afterwards it didn’t stop. On the contrary, it increased,” explained Benoît. “We have seen a lot of paintings on the walls of the John-Sleeth old school, in the parks, on the benches, a little bit everywhere in the town.”

Benoît emphasized that of the most significant instances, a First Responders vehicle was destroyed. There were also a series of robberies involving commercial buildings that resulted in broken windows and businesses having to cover them up with wooden boards. 

“The back window was broken, the front window, and the mirrors were broken (of the First Responders car). On top of that, we had a series of robberies in the middle of the night where several locations, several commercial locations, were robbed. So, we are really concerned as to what is happening right now and we are taking a lot of steps,” he said. 

With its action plan, the town hopes it will make a difference. The first step of the action plan involved sending all citizens a leaflet in the mail called “Sutton Respect” to unite the community around the issue. 

“What the town is doing is we are first of all adding cameras in the parks and around town hall. We asked the Sûreté du Quebec to be much more present. We have young cadets who are walking around during the night to see if they can stop something,” noted Benoît. “We have discussed with several interveners to see how we can better communicate with young people because we think that part of it is done by young people, at least the painting.”

Benoît mentioned that the damage has cost upwards of $50,000 making it essential to also focus on prevention. 

“We are going to do focus groups with young people from 12 to 30 years old to see what the problem is and what we need to do. We are going to do some sort of art mediation in the park where there will be places where the kids can use paint and do tags, where it will be permitted. We are looking at all kinds of ways to offset this pattern of vandalism,” said Benoît. 

As they address the situation, Benoît encourages people to reach out to the Sûreté du Quebec if they have any information or have witnessed vandalism. 

“We ask people to call the police at 310-4141. It is anonymous and confidential,” he said. 

Listen to the full interview below: