Police bid to rub out graffiti vandalism

Tayissa Barone

Police have continued their assault on the "gateway crime" of graffiti, with nearly 200 people charged in the latest crackdown.

Under the eighth Operation Eraser, police have laid 509 charges, including criminal damage, trespass, burglary, stealing and drug offences.

Sen. Sgt Rob Lewis, from the police transport unit, said last week's operation had been the most successful since Operation Eraser started in 2011.

More than 1020 offenders have been charged with 2969 offences in the operation's lifetime.

"There is no doubt there is a significant link between graffiti as a gateway crime leading into more serious offences," Sen. Sgt Lewis said.

Graffiti damage is estimated to cost about $30 million a year.

Sen. Sgt Lewis said the operation targeted offenders and hotspots that had been identified through the Goodbye Graffiti Database, which links graffiti tags to vandals. Officers seized hundreds of spray cans, as well as bolt cutters, pepper spray, balaclavas and high-visibility vests.

More than two dozen youths were either cautioned or referred to the juvenile justice team.