The last of the graffiti on the buildings at the Raceview Shopping Centre in 2016.
The last of the graffiti on the buildings at the Raceview Shopping Centre in 2016. David Nielsen

The 'disease' costing Ipswich $219,000 a year

MAYOR Paul Pisasale has declared war on graffiti vandals after recent figures revealed they are costing Ipswich ratepayers more than $18,000 a month.

Ipswich City Council recently revealed that graffiti damage and clean-up efforts cost $219,719 over the 2015-2016 financial year.

Now the mayor is appealing to the Attorney-General to toughen up penalties for graffiti vandals.

"Vandals are laughing at the law," he said.

"I am calling on the Attorney-General to increase the penalties for graffiti. All most criminals are getting is a slap on the wrist.

"We have a zero graffiti policy. It's like a disease that councils all over Australia are facing."

And that 'disease' is costing Ipswich City Council more each year.

An ICC-commissioned study back in May 2011 showed council cleaned 948 graffiti incidents in the 17 months prior, at a cost of $186,000.

Cr Pisasale said this was partly due to the cost of swift clean ups and more up-to-date CCTV technology that helps identify criminals.

"We're not going to stop (hunting vandals down)," he said.

"We are not going to let the little grubs ruin our beautiful city."

 

The long-serving Ipswich mayor encouraged residents to dob in any acts of vandalism to Crime Stoppers and potentially collect thousands of dollars for doing so.

"Don't tolerate it - report it," he said.

"We do catch them with safe city too but you can get rewards for prosecutions from Crime Stoppers so report them.

"All they are doing is costing the people of Ipswich money."

In 2017 Ipswich City Council will be targeting a number of "problem areas" with additional CCTV.

"My New Year's Resolution is to stamp out graffiti," Cr Pisasale said.

"It's right across the whole city and it's not 'cool' anymore."

Graffiti damage at Barry Mills' business.
Graffiti damage at Barry Mills' business. Emma Clarke

Somerset Regional Council mayor Graeme Lehmann said graffiti cost his ratepayers almost $9000 in the last 12 months.

"Those figures are pretty low compared to recent years," he said.

"We installed cameras in a lot of problem areas and have six portable CCTV to catch vandals so you very well could be caught on candid camera.

"It just costs ratepayers money so we want to stamp out vandalism all together. In the past it's been a bigger problem but the general public have been of great help.

"It's helped curb the problem in our area. People love their region and they're happy to dob in someone doing the wrong thing."

Cr Pisasale said free graffiti removal kits were available from all divisional offices.THE



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