Okotoks Municipal Enforcement has had its hands full this summer.

On top of a sharp increase in graffiti, they also saw a 150 per cent increase in Community Standards Bylaw tickets/warnings.

Both of these were addressed at the October 11 meeting of Okotoks town council.

Councillors asked about both the graffiti and the increase in Community Standards Bylaw, and according to peace officer Trevor LaDuke, there's a connection between the two.

"We've basically got it narrowed down to a group of about 15 youth who are predominantly out. These are also predominantly the youth who are causing issues at the Okotoks rec centre at teen night. They can be found at the skate park."

The issues at the rec centre have been occurring on teen night, where issues with bullying have arisen.

Though they're aware of the group, municipal enforcement can only act in certain circumstances.

"The problem is... trying to issue a charge and make it stick without any kind of witness. Some of the youth will speak to other youth doing it, but whether a ticket can be issued or whether it will hold in court and a justice just withdraw it due to lack of evidence is another thing."

He says peace officers have spoken with a lot of the local youth and have increased patrols. Because of that and the recent return to school, incidents have seen a decrease since September.

Town administration is also pursuing other means to curb youth crime, says community health and safety director Susan Laurin.

"We have applied for a significant crime reduction grant specifically targeted for our youth. We're also looking at hiring specific people at the recreation centre to deal with teens, so a youth development specialist as well as some youth programming to be able to increase the presence there."

LaDuke has been pointing some of these youths to programs from McMan Family Resource Network.