Gold Coast is preparing for the hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2018, but the look of the city is being tarnished by a 36 per cent increase in graffiti.
Figures from the City Council have shown a rise from 5500 to 7500 in graffiti reports across the city during the past year. Police saw an accumulation of reports in areas such as Coomera, Broadbeach and Southport. According to the Council the hot spots vary, although, taggers tend to choose areas with high population or locations near to key public transport routes.
Dawn Crichlow, councillor of Southport, explained that the tags in the CBD had been increasing, which is a concern since the Commonwealth Games will be held in less than a year and will expose the city to the world. Additionally, Crichlow said people doing these tags are just trying to get identified and have nothing better to do, and since it is not art, they should be fined and put into national services.
Councillor Herman Vorster from southern areas of the city, said that the community is angry about the problem and whenever a tag is made there is someone coming along to cover it or scrap it off, as groups in charge of watching are popping up. Vorster also said that the other concern is that vandalised streets signs have to be replaced given that removing the graffiti destroys the reflective paint on them.
Gold Coast police crime prevention officer Holly James, explained that they had not seen a rise in graffiti reports because people were directing them to the council rather than the police. Nevertheless, officers would be deployed to hot spots to prevent offences.
The Mayor Tom Tate said that CCTV cameras had helped to spot offenders and that the budget for the following year 2017-2018 includes 17 additional cameras with the same purpose. Given the rise in tags and the fact that the expense of removing graffiti is about $1 million each year, the council is looking for a company to take over the services of graffiti removal in the city. This is one of the reasons why the timing in removing graffiti is essential, as one tag leads to many others.