Graffiti

Graffiti Free Week takes place in March every year.

Keep Australia Beautiful encourages home owners and businesses to help wipe out graffiti by cleaning off the visual litter as soon as it appears. Graffiti vandals or ‘taggers’ enjoy seeing their handiwork on display and that immediate removal helps to prevent copycat offences and vandals from seeing the fruits of their labour.

The public can also report visual litter to the police or local council or cleaning it off wherever appropriate.

The estimated cost of graffiti and other forms of vandalism to the Australian community is a massive $2.7 billion a year, making visual litter the new scourge in our fight against litter bugs.

Apart from the clean-up costs, there are other economic ramifications; people and businesses avoid these areas and real estate prices suffer.

Part of the problem in fighting graffiti has been an absence of national data on where the crime occurs most and the sorts of programs most effective in combating it.

This is why KAB has started tracking the prevalence of graffiti in its annual National Litter Index research.

For the first time, we’ll be able to record graffiti on a national and state by state level which will reveal where the hot spots are located and serve as a trend indicator for future policy decisions.

Residents and business owners can report visual litter to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at crimestoppers.com.au

Top tips for targeting taggers:

  • Report new graffiti and offenders as soon as possible. Most councils, police and state governments have a reporting service.
  • Repair and get rid graffiti ASAP to discourage further conduct.
  • Educate fellow residents and business owners that graffiti is vandalism and has no artistic merit.
  • Recognise the difference between street art, and graffiti.
  • Apply to local councils for assistance to have graffiti removed from private property.
  • Consult a landscape designer on ways to deter illegal graffiti through environmental design elements.
  • Adopt-a-Spot: Invite the local community to keep a part of their area clean and graffiti-free.

How much is graffiti costing you?

ACT ACT Policing statistics revealed 37,953 incidents of property damage, including graffiti, occurred from January – December 2014.
TAS Hobart City Council increased its funds for the removal of graffiti this financial year to $116,000,a rise of more than 25 percent on the previous financial year.
NSW

According to Graffiti Clean, graffiti vandalism costs New South Wales local government and property owners more than $300 million each year.

A total of 46,404 incidents of graffiti were reported to NSW Police in the five-year period from 2009 to 2014, with an average number of incidents per year of 9,280.

One quarter (25.9 percent) of these offences were committed on residential dwellings, followed by public transport (18.4 percent), business/commercial (17.1 percent) and outdoor/public places (14.9 percent).

NT Northern Territory Police crime statistics reveal property damage, which includes graffiti, increased 5% in 2014 compared with 2013 and that crime against property, which also includes break-ins, soared by more than 8%.
QLD

The Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General estimated the clean-up cost of graffiti was $200 million per year with $5.5 million spent on wiping visual litter off rail infrastructure.

Last year 128 offenders were ordered to perform 1,160 hours of clean-ups across Queensland, on the Gold Coast alone about 3,500 square metres of buildings and other structures were re-painted because of graffiti.

SA

Under the Graffiti Rewards Program announced by the Attorney-General last year, rewards of up to $500 are offered for information from the public that leads to the conviction of a graffiti vandal.

This followed greater penalties passed in 2013 which imposed a $5000 fine or up to 12 months in prison for marking graffiti or carrying a graffiti implement.

These penalties are even higher if the graffiti occurs on memorials or in cemeteries. Repeat offenders also run the risk of having their driver’s license suspended.

VIC

Since 2005, the Graffiti Removal Program in Victoria has removed two million square metres of graffiti, an amount of visual litter that could cover the Melbourne Cricket Ground’s playing field about 100 times.

The cost to the local community of removing the graffiti was more than $50 million.

WA Western Australia’s anti-vandalism group, Goodbye Graffiti, estimates visual litter costs WA more than $30 million a year with the true figure likely to be significantly higher because  many offences go unreported to police. The estimated cost also fails to considers the social cost of graffiti vandalism, in particular the impact on perceptions of personal safety.