Bundy police crackdown on graffiti
POLICE are cracking down on persistent graffiti vandals, and the council has revealed it spends more than $10,000 a year ridding the city’s public spaces of the blight.
Bundaberg policeman Detective Acting Sergeant Scott Nicol said a database had been created to keep track of the different “tags” and symbols used by graffiti vandals.
“We keep a database within the police station so we have intelligence at hand when there are reports of graffiti,” Det Sgt Nicol said.
“Some tags are ones that we are seeing again.”
The information in the police files can be used to build a case against offenders for prosecution through the courts.
“It’s hard to say how many offenders there are, but we believe most of them are in the 14 to 16 age bracket,” Det Acting Sgt Nicol said.
He said numerous reports of graffiti damage came in every week, with Kepnock and Svensson Heights being hit hard recently.
“It is more of a problem around school holidays,” he said.
Many more cases are washed away by homeowners or council workers without ever being reported to police.
“If members of the public see people in the act of wilful damage, they should get a description of the offenders and telephone the police or Crime Stoppers immediately,” Det Acting Sgt Nicol said.
“The punishment for wilful damage can be up to five years in prison, or seven years if the offence involves obscene or indecent depictions.”
Individual cases of vandalism can cost thousands of dollars to clean or repair.
Bundaberg Regional Council director of health and environment Greg Savage said the problem was creating soaring expenses for the council – and for homeowners who had to foot the bill when their property was defaced.
“Several years ago we were spending $10,000 to clean graffiti, and it would be well in excess of that now,” Mr Savage said.
COUNCIL workers make note of any damage they come across, but the clean-up task is so mammoth that it can take months to be repaired.
“But the sooner it is removed the better, because if you leave it there, one or two tags will accumulate and turn into five or six within a week. If the graffiti is deemed to be offensive or in a very prominent place, it gets urgent attention,” he said.
Mr Savage said the council worked with youth groups to prevent graffiti, by getting youngsters involved with murals and other public artworks, including at the Bundaberg skate bowl and the Railway Bridge overpass.
“It seems that if there is artwork they have been involved in, it lasts a bit longer before it gets covered in tags,” Mr Savage said.