Whangarei Leader : July 29th 2014
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 YOUR PLACE, YOUR PAPER INSIDE Beating graffiti Have your say Arts centre gone, what now? – P5 Roof shout $5 million cancer centre fast becoming a reality – P14 Graffiti guard: Phil has volunteered for the past eight years to keep his community free from graffiti, and says he has seen results by keeping on top of the problem. Photo: ALEXANDRA NEWLOVE By ALEXANDRA NEWLOVE It’s a problem as old as the hills – or at least as old as the spray can. Young taggers are taking to the streets of Whangarei and causing a headache for the council with their nozzlehappy ways. Around 2000 tagging incidents are usually reported to City Safe each month. But this year has seen far more than that with a peak of 4906 recorded between mid-April and midMay. A multi-pronged approach is used to tackle the clean up. One involves Space Guardians, the unsung heroes who tirelessly keep on top of the mess made by taggers. Each volunteer guardian elects a small area – like a particularly vulnerable fence or walkway – and pledges to keep it graffiti-free using ❝ Wedon’t want to give them the kudos, as it’s largely about the fame – Dave Palmer Council community safety officer special paint provided by council. Second Ave guardian Phil, who doesn’t want his surname published, says the key is to paint over tagging as soon as it occurs. He says this removes the element of reward for the culprit and stops rivals trying to outdo the original tag. He says the approach has been relatively successful in his area and is philosophical regarding the nuisance factor. ‘‘It’s just something that we do to try and keep the community feeling safe,’’ he says. ing.’’ ‘‘I wouldn’t call it frustratCouncil community safety officer Dave Palmer says he knows the name of the group behind the tagging spike but won’t reveal it for fear of encouraging its members. ‘‘We don’t want to give them the kudos, as it’s largely about the fame,’’ he says. The new Countdown at Regent was tagged within days of being finished, but Victoria University criminologist Fiona Hutton says most offenders have at least some sense of decency when it comes to what they will tag. ‘‘There are places that graffiti artists aren’t willing to target,’’ she says. ‘‘Places like the marae, churches, plants and trees. Though that’s completely generalised and there will be those who will graffiti on anything. YOUR VIEWS ❚ What can we do to stop tagging? Email the editor on email@example.com or text 027 483 0999. Include your full name. ‘‘There’s a lot of compe- tition about who can get their stuff up in the most prominent place and the most difficult place to evade the law.’’ Hutton conducted a study in 2012 that asked young people about their perceptions of graffiti. ‘‘Most of the respondents didn’t see it as vandalism but as an urban art form that should be tolerated and valued in some circumstances.’’ She says many young people feel there is an important distinction between graffiti and tagging. ‘‘Some people said they disagreed with tagging but thought that graffiti was great, particularly where urban areas were dull and grey. ‘‘Most agreed that it was an art form and way of expressing yourself and of gaining status.’’ Graffiti vandalism can carry a fine of up to $2000, or a community-work sentence. The council has a ‘‘D’Tag’’ contractor who may be able to help in extreme circumstances but the public is encouraged to remove graffiti as soon as possible to discourage repeat vandalism. Anyone who witnesses taggers in the act should call 111 or City Safe on 0800 258 258. ❚ Want to find out more about being a space guardian in your community? Call Dave Palmer on 4304230 extn 8110. Vege is cool Old cooking cool again – P15 E-EDITION On their way Visit whangareileader. co.nz to see a video of the Royal NZ Navy Band which is playing in Whangarei next week (story P17 ). Click Latest Edition.
July 22nd 2014