Removing graffiti from council-owned property costs the Far North District Council around $150,000 a year with most of the funds spent on community assets such as halls, toilets, sports complexes, playgrounds and other amenities.
The remainder, about $30,000, is spent removing graffiti from plant such as pump stations, storage depots and road signs.
Community Services operations manager Sue Hodge says graffiti vandals seem to have taken on a new lease of life recently and graffiti busting has become an increasingly busy and thankless task.
“We are spending a lot of time and money removing mindless scribblings by people who get a buzz out of scrawling all over public property until their community assets start looking like abandoned bomb shelters,” she said. “We’re appealing to people to keep an eye out for these wanna-bes and help us catch them in the act.”
Ms Hodge said parents needed to question their kids when they came home with aerosol paint cans or with paint all over them, and shopkeepers needed to think twice about selling aerosol paint to school age children.
Anyone spotting graffitists at work could consider catching them red-handed by taking a photo and sending it in to the police, she added.
The council has adopted a Graffiti-free Far North policy this month with the aim of taking a zero-tolerance approach to the problem.
The policy outlines a number of initiatives including
removing graffiti within 48 hours of being reported.
attending family group conferences in order to get financial compensation from offenders.
working with other agencies, such as Transit NZ and the Police to identify hot spots and find solutions.
promoting graffiti prevention through environmental design in order to minimise surfaces suited to defacement. Home owners, for instance, could grow creepers over their fences.
educating people about the importance of quick removal and producing information about how to remove graffiti effectively.
assisting communities with sourcing funds to counter the problem.