Crime

Police arrest more graffiti vandals

HANUSIA GOY

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.

Ongoing battle

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.

Police programs

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.

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3 replies »

  1. I think tagging is disgusting, no doubt there. I also think that not all graffiti is bad or ugly. I have lived around Australia and seen some amazing graffiti artwork around. I think that you should think about giving these graffiti artists somewhere legal to paint if you want them to stop. Why can’t you set up some graffiti parks like skateboard parks with billboards set up in place that they can paint over and do pieces? In QLD they employ these people to paint beautiful pictures along the ugly block out fences along the highways..and you may think it encourages them BUT it doesn’t. They also don’t like taggers, who just trash Inge with their stupid initials. The pictures for example on the highways to Brisbane do not get tagged or painted over and they are done to what the local councils ask (pics of local hero’s, near the Brisbane airport they have lovely native wildlife pictures..these kids can do amazing things..so use their talents for the GOOD of the community..you just might be surprised at how proud they are and how well they will keep their things looking good. No one in Redbank has painted over their pictures of their fallen miners for MaNY years..so I say again..give them legal places to go like you do the skateboarders..putting up some billboards wouldn’t be that expensive or take up much room. Give them somewhere to legally go..would it hurt to try it?? Are you smart enough to try it like other area’s????? Up to you. I will still report taggers when I see them..but not all graffiti is bad or ugly like some of your ugly sheds here..let these kids paint them to match the business’s..protects the shed..looks better and helps to keep them from places you don’t want them being. Think smarter..outside the typical box.

  2. But who decides that they are beautiful pictures? Put what you like up in your own home, but when in the public domain, Public option decides what is acceptable and what is not. Melbourne railways has a dedicated anti vandal team the APU, they appear to be doing the job well in that state. WA has a first class enforcement agency and they are responding to an age old issue of wanton vandalism. Be it in the form of tagging or indiscriminate destruction of public property. They, the dedicated 14 vandal police are a response to public opinion that say that this type of “art” is unacceptable, weather the perpetrators attempt to disguise it as freedom of speech or art, it is illegal and socially unacceptable.

  3. Public opinion very rarely decides matters of public aesthetics, except in the sense of the decision makers electoral accountability. Like most public projects I suppose that what Amanda is suggesting, designated areas for legal graffiti, would be open to public comment or criticism before work went ahead. However I don’t understand your objection to the idea on the basis that the public would need to decide on any such graffiti project.

    The risk of implementing “graffiti zones” is that uncontrolled graffiti in the neighbouring area will increase, as has happened in some trials. In the majority though such zones have been successful in reducing tagging and more destructive forms of graffiti. Additionally it also provides a legal outlet for artistic ability and creativity which is lacking in many communities or families.

    The thing which I dislike about the approach portrayed by WA police in this article is that it focuses exclusively on punishment and community solidarity against the vandals. Up to 24 months imprisonment for vandalism will help neither the individuals or our wallets in the long term. All this will achieve is to further isolate the perpetrators from the wider community – which in the end will not help anybody. Projects like graffiti zones not only bring colour to many ugly neighbourhoods, but they naturally help young people in them to feel more a part of their community.

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