State Government grant boosts war on graffiti
A POLICE crackdown on graffiti offenders has been extended for several more weeks as the Far North receives a State Government grant to help clean up the illegal art.Operation Longwood started almost six weeks ago and has so far netted 22 offenders on 722 charges, an average of almost 33 charges a person.
The result comes as Cairns Regional Council receives a $70,000 grant as part of $1.75 million being allocated to councils around the state to help them with graffiti clean-up.
Cairns police Sen-Constable Russell Parker said the operation was expected to run for at least another fortnight.
"The detectives have been surprised with the success of it and the number of people they've been able to identify and that's why it's continuing," he said.
"Comparatively with graffiti, we've got a small number of offenders committing more offences, and usually when you run an operation on something like break and enters you get a lot less offences per person."
Ongoing juvenile crime operation Hastings has currently charged 151 youths on 1075 charges, a rate of about seven charges a person. "Graffiti seems to run much higher because of the satisfaction of seeing your tags being displayed and because of the damage to property, that's why we see it as a priority," Sen-Constable Parker said.
"Also a lot of the people involved in graffiti are often involved in other street offences."
Queensland Corrective Services is responsible for graffiti removal in Cairns, but council Libraries and Community Development manager Kerrie Still said the grant would be used to bolster that relationship along with assisting their existing programs.
Last year, the corrective services program was valued at more than $30,000, based on hours worked and the program has just been extended from two to three days per week.
The grant is the first of a four-year package to tackle graffiti. A further $250,000 would be used each year to run a graffiti hotline and website so the public can report offenders.
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