THIS year marks the second anniversary of tough new graffiti laws created to help clean up our streets.
In January 2010 it became illegal to sell spray paint and certain marker pens to persons younger than 18 years of age in Western Australia.
The amended law also ensures that persons caught committing the act face tougher penalties.
Those caught damaging property now face up to 24 months’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $24,000.
People caught in possession of graffiti materials face a fine of up to $6,000.
Tougher laws, however, are not going to prevent vandals from scratching public transport windows or tagging abandoned buildings and industrial areas.
Initiatives and programs are constantly being created to help prevent and remove graffiti.
The Office of Crime Prevention has established the Goodbye Graffiti website, which is focused on WA graffiti.
The website provides a ‘dob in’ format where people can report graffiti, find out information about removal processes and changes to laws.
The website is part of the State Graffiti Taskforce’s strategy to clean up the state.
The Tough on Graffiti 2010-2014 Strategy is focused on making Western Australians feel safer by decreasing the number of offenders through prevention programs, keep neighbourhoods free from vandalism and ensure that all are reported and recorded.
State initiatives have also motived individual city, council and police stations into creating their own.
Cannington police made more than 30 arrests on 88 graffiti vandalism charges over four days as part of their Operation Eraser initiative.
The program targeted damage in the Cannington area, which costs the community about $25 million a year in cleaning and repairs alone.
As part of the State Tough on Graffiti strategy, WA Police have since appointed dedicated graffiti officers in every metropolitan district.
Fourteen Perth police officers focus solely on graffiti reports and work towards catching offending vandals.
Regardless of this fact, however, graffiti removal can only happen if Western Australians help and report every incident of graffiti that they see.