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Rash of street sign thefts in University District

Over a dozen street signs in the University District of downtown Kingston have gone missing, most likely the result of people stealing them. Photos by Lucas Mulder.

If you’re new to the area, it might be a little difficult at the moment to navigate the University District without the help of a GPS or maps.

On the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, a member of the Kingstonist team discovered that a number of street signs in the University District — an area often referred to as Queen’s Ghetto that houses a large number of university students — had suddenly gone missing.

We hit the streets to check it out and found that a staggering 15 street signs were missing, many at very busy and major intersections. At the same time, the video below on social media was brought to our attention, which shows a young man removing the Frontenac Street sign from the corner of Frontenac and Earl Streets.

Video via Snapchat.

According to Kingston Police, no formal complaints were filed regarding the missing signs over the last few days. The City of Kingston had also not been informed of the large amount of missing signs, but did confirm that a number of signs have already gone missing in the area since the beginning of September.

“Public Works is responsible for maintaining all street signs in Kingston. We routinely monitor streets to ensure that signs are in place and visible, but unfortunately signs do go missing. Since the beginning of September, crews have replaced 10 signs in the University District,” said Bill Linnen, Director of Public Works for the City of Kingston, who noted that replacing signs that are missing or damaged takes crews away from work that is happening across the city.

According to Const. Ashley Gutheinz, Media Relations Officer with Kingston Police, damaging and/or removing street signs not only poses a threat to public safety in terms of navigation and emergency response, it can also lead to hefty fines for perpetrators.

“Stealing a street sign or any other municipally-erected sign in the City of Kingston will lead to an individual not only being charged with theft under $5,000, but additionally for the offence of possession of stolen property under $5,000,” Gutheinz said.

And on top of that, replacing the signs ends up costing the City — both in terms of dollars and manpower.

“Costs associated with replacing street signs does vary. Depending on the type of sign, the location, and the number of staff needed for traffic control, replacements can cost upwards of $100,” said Linnen, noting that the work required to do so comes out of the City’s existing road maintenance program.

The cost to replace the current missing street signs and the 10 that have already been replaced in the District would be between $1250 and $2500.

The City of Kingston encourages anyone who notices a missing or damaged sign to submit a service request online at CityofKingston.ca/ContactUs or by calling 613-546-0000. Anyone with information regarding the identity of those who have damaged or stolen street signs is asked to contact Kingston Police at 613-549-4660.

Below are photos of all 15 of the missing signs discovered on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 in the University District.

With files from Lucas Mulder.

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2 thoughts on “Rash of street sign thefts in University District

  • September 26, 2019 at 8:10 am
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    And yet no one has stolen the best prize out there, The Tragically Hip Way.

  • September 26, 2019 at 5:56 pm
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    Why not check the new young queen students places and you most likley will find them what if someone gets in a accident and is hurt or worse dies I don’t know where half of the queen students get their brains in a cracker box I’m just someone that thinks it’s pretty bad when they can’t respect our city we put up with them and we should not have to Just change the name of our city from KINGSTON ONTARIO TO QUEENS ONTARIO ITS SICKENING WHAT THEY GET AWAY WITH.

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