Glen Eira authorities step up graffiti vandalism vigilance

Glen Eira council and police presses on with proactive measures to contain the suburbs’ long-standing problem

Many have since learnt that removing graffiti from one’s property, does not necessarily constitute a vandalism-free space for long. Vandals are known to strike the same spot repeatedly.

Crime statistics are gauged on an indefinite scale.

Sergeant Lance Crawshaw of Victoria police explains, “A lot of graffiti doesn’t get reported. It’s because victims don’t think we can do anything about it.”

“They know if it’s removed, quite often the graffiti will be back on the same spot 2-4 days later.”

“So they leave it there, don’t bother to report it, or they clean it up themselves.”

When it comes to removal issues, the Council becomes the first point of call.

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The notice erected above is a Caufield police public awareness initiative. Photo credits: Farah Liyana

In a continuous effort to contain the situation, the Council will roll out an ‘autumn clean-up campaign’ where it works with trader associations in three main shopping areas – Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick Shopping Centre.

This allows them a head start in addressing vandalism on an ongoing basis. Funded by the council and the Department of Justice, the campaign includes the education with local schools.

VandalTrak, a mobile app system introduced last year, used to log vandalism incidences is slowly gaining ground amongst the community and is essential in helping the police monitor and identify vandalism hotspots.

Sergeant Crawshaw adds, “We try to employ a multi-faceted attack, not limited to patrols. Public awareness for the community to educate them in taking certain precautions to encourage prevention.”

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Conceived by non-profit organisation VandalTrak Ltd, the free VandalTrak app allows the general public to report vandalism incidences through a simple three-step process. Photo credits: Farah Liyana

Glen Eira council removes graffiti from its own property promptly, whilst those inflicted on private property may be assisted in certain cases, or be placed on a priority list for consideration.

The extent to which the council provides clean up also depends on the availability of allocated funds. In the last financial year of 2011-12, Glen Eira council received a total of 465 requests for graffiti removal assistance and had 162 graffiti removal kits provided to residents and traders in the area.

Glen Eira council spokesman Paul Burke said, “Property damage caused by vandals is expensive to fix and the cost is borne by ratepayers, property owners and local businesses. It deters people from visiting or shopping in areas that have graffiti and dampens the environment.”

In the suburb, the most commonly vandalised areas are commercial and railway properties. A Glen Eira merchant whose shop wall had been vandalized multiple times, concurs, “I don’t accept graffiti. It costs me thousands of dollars to remove it.”

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