Hon Rob Johnson JP MLA

Hon Rob Johnson JP MLA

Former Minister for Police; Road Safety

    Graffiti crackdown leads to 43% drop in offences

    4/06/2012 12:00 AM
     
    • Year-long police blitz nets graffiti materials, weapons, drugs and stolen goods

    More than 100 spray cans and a range of weapons, drugs and stolen goods have been seized from graffiti vandals in a series of police operations across Western Australia.

     

    The four operations, known as Operation Eraser, have been conducted since February 2011 and have contributed to a 43 per cent reduction in graffiti offences in 2011-12.

     

    Police Minister Rob Johnson said Operation Eraser was an initiative from the graffiti taskforce, re-established by the Liberal-National Government in line with a 2008 election commitment.

     

    Mr Johnson said the taskforce had overhauled the way graffiti was targeted in WA, developing a State-wide strategy to clamp down on the offence.

     

    Some of the initiatives from the taskforce have included:

    • establishing a Juvenile Clean-up Referral Program requiring young graffiti offenders to remove marks and tags on property
    • establishing a 14-strong graffiti unit within WA Police, with two dedicated graffiti inquiry officers in every metropolitan policing district
    • providing $2.45million to local governments and non-profit organisations for graffiti removal and reduction strategies.

    The Minister said that in the two years since the establishment of the Graffiti Taskforce, there had been a 42 per cent reduction in the cost to local governments to remove graffiti.

     

    Mr Johnson said the focus on graffiti had also led WA Police to other more serious crimes.

     

    “It has become apparent that graffiti offending is actually a ‘gateway’ crime to more serious criminal offending including high-end crimes such as burglary, arson, robbery, drug trafficking, possession of weapons and child pornography,” he said.

     

    “This was highlighted by the fact that during Operation Eraser, police officers seized an alarming array of weapons, drugs and stolen goods from the homes of graffiti vandals.”

     

    The Minister said police had also been able to engage with first-time graffiti offenders and divert them into youth programs to ensure they would not become recidivist offenders.

     

          Fact File

    • Last year, a WA study examined the 3-year offending histories of nearly 800 graffitists. It was the first time a study of this magnitude had been undertaken in WA
    • The study found majority of graffitists were recidivist offenders involved in multiple crimes. The most prevalent crime among preteen & early adolescent offenders was burglary. Late-adolescents & adults committed more violent & drug-related crimes
    • More information on Govt’s graffiti initiatives: http://www.goodbyegraffiti.wa.gov.au/

    Minister’s office - 6552 5900