Mass clean-up follows holiday graffiti spate

Examples of tagging around the Dunedin central business district. Photos by Craig Baxter.
Examples of tagging around the Dunedin central business district. Photos by Craig Baxter.

A mass clean-up is under way to rid Dunedin of graffiti after a spate of tagging during the Christmas break.

Keep Dunedin Beautiful co-ordinator Darlene Thomson said there had been a "lot of complaints" since Christmas, and Taskforce Green workers had removed much of the reported graffiti.

While the city fared well compared with other centres, the latest graffiti incidents were among the worst in recent years and coincided with the school holidays, she said.

Areas affected included the central business district, Kaikorai Valley Rd and Caversham, she said.

People concerned about graffiti in their area could approach Keep Dunedin Beautiful, which applies to the Dunedin City Council at annual plan time for funding for murals to cover graffiti.

Dunedin graffiti education officer Nicole Kettings, who is based at the Dunedin Central Police Station, said people concerned about graffiti should report it to police immediately.

The council also operated an online reporting system.

People affected by tagging could also ask for a free graffiti-removal kit from the Dunedin Central Police Station, she said.

Taggers were typically aged between 12 and 28, could be male or female and from any socioeconomic background, she said.

"There is a whole culture around it. There are those that abide by the rules and those that don't."

Public opinion was also divided. ome people loved the more creative side of graffiti, but others hated the indiscriminate tagging of public and private property, she said.

The attraction for taggers was to "bomb a city", leaving their street name or "tag" in as many places as possible.

"It is about trying to get exposure."

Tags in prominent and hard-to-reach places were referred to as "heaven spots" and there was concern someone might be seriously injured in their attempts to leave their mark on a building.

Taskforce Green co-ordinator Alex Griffin said the most important thing to do when it came to graffiti was to "correct it as soon as you can".

He had noticed previously hard-hit areas were no longer targeted after the graffiti was repeatedly painted over.


Dealing with tagging
• Report incidents to police.
• Take a photograph of the graffiti for police records.
• Remove it as soon as possible so the tagger does not get street credit for their work; graffiti is also easier to remove.
• Plant creeping vines or trees to eliminate wall space and protect fences.
• Good lighting will discourage offenders.


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