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Graffiti taskforce turning the tables two years on

30 November, 2010

More than 180 graffiti vandals have been caught and charged with 6400 offences since Lord Mayor Campbell Newman created Brisbane’s first dedicated graffiti taskforce two years ago.

The Lord Mayor’s Taskforce Against Graffiti (TAG) is a full-time team of police and council officers who gather evidence against graffiti vandals, track them down and arrest them.

Cr Newman said that since TAG’s creation in October 2008 the taskforce had led to 182 graffiti offenders being arrested on 6391 graffiti-related charges, including the recent arrest of a “major player” in Brisbane’s illegal graffiti scene for 550 offences.

Cr Newman said TAG had been a major success since its inception and Council would continue to support them in their quest to rid Brisbane’s suburbs of illegal graffiti once and for all.

“The graffiti taskforce has been so successful because they’re working one step ahead of these vandals and catching them before they have a chance to strike again,” Cr Newman said.

“I’m also committed to removing this unsightly vandalism from our streets quickly and have tripled the number of Council’s graffiti clean up crews from four to 12 since in the last six years.

“Our approach is based on the visionary broken window theory, which says that if a broken window is not fixed quickly it sends a message that it’s OK to smash other windows in the area.”

Cr Newman said that a total of 353,735 square metres of illegal graffiti had been removed from Brisbane’s streets in the two years that TAG had been operating.

“In the last two years our graffiti clean up crews have removed enough illegal graffiti to cover The Gabba 20 times over as part of our commitment to looking after Brisbane’s suburbs,” he said.

“However there’s still more work to be done if we’re to get on top of this ugly crime for good, which is why I’ve increased funding for our graffiti clean up teams and the Taskforce Against Graffiti by $309,000 to a total of $3.65 million this year.”

The Queensland Police Service’s Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon, State Crime Operations Command said the joint initiative has been a great success and as a result has made a considerable impact on the networks committing these unsightly crimes.

“We are grateful for the support the Brisbane City Council has given us and the commitment they have made with us to prevent and target these offences,” Assistant Commissioner Condon said.

“The approach taken by the team is to use proactive policing strategies combined with intelligence driven analysis to identify those who commit these crimes. When you look at the significant arrests made by the team and the Council’s work in removing graffiti, the community can rest assured graffiti is certainly high on our agenda.”

Cr Newman said Brisbane residents also had a part to play in keeping their local suburbs beautiful and encouraged them to report any graffiti on Council land by calling 3403 8888

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