Shire’s tough stance on graffiti getting results

Published on 13 September 2017

Photo of person cleaning graffiti

Covert surveillance, quick removal and technology catching people in the act have reduced graffiti by almost 60 per cent within the Nillumbik Shire, the lowest on record.

Mayor Cr Peter Clarke said Council’s new approach is a clear example of a solution that works which could be rolled out across Victoria if the State Government would fund a graffiti tagging taskforce.

“I’m calling on the State Government to establish a designated graffiti prosecution taskforce to ensure councils across the state can achieve results like we have on the graffiti scourge. Offenders should be brought to justice and made to pay for their mindless tagging,” Cr Clarke said.

“Graffiti tagging is detrimental to our Shire’s appeal and impacts on the wellbeing and quality of life for Nillumbik residents. We want our community to have a sense of pride and feel safe. The current lack of resources makes prosecution difficult for both Victoria Police and Councils.

“Council, together with Rapid Apprehension Systems, has installed roving graffiti detection devices which assist in the identification of vandalism offenders as well as engaging specialist graffiti tagging analysts and trackers who have been instrumental in helping Victoria Police identify and apprehend offenders whilst committing the offence.

“I know that other councils will be envious of this result and if a coordinated approach was taken on and a graffiti taskforce set up, there’s no reason why we couldn’t put a huge dent on graffiti tagging across the state.”

The 2017 graffiti tagging audit shows the Shire’s best ever result with a 50 per cent decrease in Eltham, 67 per cent decrease in Diamond Creek, 66 per cent decrease in Greensborough, 58 per cent decrease in Plenty, 54 per cent decrease in Hurstbridge, 76 per cent decrease in Panton Hill and 60 per cent decline in Wattle Glen.

“Breaking the offending cycle is the key to maintaining the downward trend in graffiti crime in our community. Last year clean-up efforts cost ratepayers $130,000 we expect this to be halved this year,” Cr Clarke said.

A number of core offenders have recently been arrested and charged with causing over $70,000 of damage, including a 25-year-old Diamond Creek man who was jailed for three months for graffiti and theft. Since Council implemented this unique anti-graffiti program, over 120 offenders have ceased to offend which has resulted in a total saving of over $350,000.
 
Council removes graffiti once it appears and residents are encouraged to report graffiti on Council buildings, public toilets, parks and reserves, street furniture, playground equipment and signs via the Council website or calling 9433 3111.

Anyone witnessing graffiti taking place is urged to contact local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.