Graffiti in the Inner City

29 November 2010

Help us tackle the tagging epidemic. There has been a noticeable increase in graffiti vandalism in the central business unit recently - it's ugly, unlawful and can seriously affect people's feelings of safety.

Mike Egan from Monsoon Poon cleans the outside of the restaurant every day

Mike Egan from Monsoon Poon cleans the outside of the restaurant every day

Removing graffiti is the responsibility of property owners and managers, including residents, retailers and us, and cleaning up the problem isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. To make it easier, we provide a brochure for businesses explaining how to prevent and remove graffiti.

Prevention is best because graffiti is expensive to remove - we spend around $400,000 a year on removing graffiti. Prevention involves tactics such as improving lighting, choosing particular paints and coatings and importantly, keeping the area clean and tidy. We have found that if an area is really well looked after, it is less likely to attract graffiti.

Once a property has been tagged, quick removal is the most effective ongoing prevention strategy. Our brochure contains useful information about different removal methods.

We rely on everyone to report tagging to our contact centre on (04) 499 4444, so we can track graffiti and the vandals. If you see someone actually doing the tagging, phone the police on 111.

Mike Mendonca, the Council's CitiOperations Manager, says graffiti isn't just a Council or a police problem.

"It's a community problem and a lot of our energy goes into helping people and parents to help themselves. After all, it's our kids who are making the mess."

He says it's a difficult problem to budget for because graffiti comes and goes in waves that aren't predictable, except that school holidays are usually a busy time.

"Right now the Wellington central business district has been badly hit and there are flare-ups in Newtown and the Aro Valley," Mike says.

"What are we doing about it? A few things. We're providing residents with advice and supplies to deal with the problem themselves, which is always the quickest way of dealing with the problem. We're working closely with Police on various aspects, including education, the jointly managed 'dob-a-tagger' scheme that has worked well in the past and providing the Police with information so they can catch and prosecute offenders.

"It is particularly bad in pockets of the central business district at the moment. In some cases, we have hired additional security patrols that seem to be working; they have chased away a few would-be taggers. We've increased contractors to remove the offending tagging and graffiti. It isn't easy but we won't give up."

We established the graffiti flying squad in 2007 to help small businesses and private residents. We also provide free graffiti-removal kits for residents. These are available at some of our libraries - for more information go to:

Projects - Graffiti Removal Campaign