Winning the graffiti war

Last Updated : 16 Mar 2016
Graffiti free week
Street art can enhance a drab walkway, provided it's done with permission

Five years after declaring war on graffiti, and nearly three years after introducing a world-leading graffiti reduction plan, Auckland Mayor Len Brown says graffiti vandalism incidents are down 22 per cent and more than 1,000 Auckland residents have signed up to a free Adopt-a-Spot programme to help control neighbourhood graffiti.

“This is a legacy I’m proud to claim as we mark the start of Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Graffiti-Free Week,” he says.

Graffiti vandalism (tagging) is a community security and amenity issue that can lower property values and encourage more vandalism and other types of crime.

“Graffiti vandalism makes communities feel unsafe and damages our city’s reputation. The council’s vision is that Aucklanders and visitors enjoy a city free of graffiti vandalism and we have followed through with a zero-tolerance policy for any graffiti placed in public sight without permission.”

Senior Graffiti Vandalism Prevention Advisor, Rob Shields, says the council is achieving its target of 100 per cent of reported graffiti being attended to within 24 hours, a testament to both the Adopt-a-Spot programme and a comprehensive service delivery model focused on the three “e”s – eradication, enforcement and education.

Graffiti free week (1)
Graffiti vandalism is removed within 24 hours of being reported

“We manage graffiti removal and prevention in partnership with a wide range of government agencies, community groups and volunteers in local areas.”

The Adopt-a-Spot programme enables volunteers to take ownership of an area in their neighbourhood to look after and keep graffiti-free. Auckland Council supplies the paint, brushes and other equipment, which can be used to remove graffiti from private or public property.

“We rely on the public to report graffiti on public property and on residential or small business property where it’s visible from the street,” says Rob.

“Any member of the public can call 09 301 0101 and we’ll have someone there with 24 hours. Rapid removal is internationally recognised as a successful prevention approach, because it deprives vandals of the notoriety they gain from seeing their tags up in public.”

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