A 21-year-old Geraldton man has been charged with two counts of criminal damage, trespass and possessing implements for graffiti and a 17-year-old male charged with criminal damage as part of Geraldton Police’s latest offensive targetting graffiti vandalism and graffiti offenders.
Operation Eraser targets graffiti crime in Perth and the Mid West Gascoyne district, which is the first regional area to be included in the initiative, and has led to a statewide netting of 54 people charged for 101 offences.
Geraldton Police crime and intelligence co-ordinator Julie Foley led a joint initiative to combat graffiti vandalism with local police, the City of Greater Geraldton and Corrective Services.
“Graffiti is not street art, it is criminal damage,” she said.
“The cost of graffiti removal statewide is estimated at being $30 million annually and police statistics reveal graffiti offending can be linked to other criminal activity.”
Mrs Foley said 73 per cent of those charged with graffiti offences had been involved with other crimes, including: burglary, drug offences and personal crime, which includes assault.
WA Police Assistant Commissioner Steve Brown is a strong advocate in escalating police response to graffiti crime and heads-up the WA Graffiti Taskforce.
“Graffiti, unlike many other crimes, is one of the most visible of all crime and anti-social problems that can occur in the community,” he said.
“(It) can significantly reduce public confidence and perceptions of personal safety.”
Any members of the public who may be able to assist police are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.