A Ballarat resident who was horrified when vandals launched a brazen graffiti attack on her train, has used her smartphone to capture their stupidity on camera.
When a V/Line train from Ballarat station stopped at Deer Park on Sunday morning, two masked men jumped a fence and started vandalising the carriages as horrified passengers looked on.
One Ballarat resident, who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisal, whipped out her iPhone and caught the culprits on camera, sending the photos via The Courier’s iPhone app.
“We were just sitting on the train and all of a sudden these guys with their faces completely wrapped come jumping towards the train,” she said.
“They pulled out the spray cans from their bags so they were well prepared.
“People were horrified that they were doing that in broad daylight.
“I thought, ‘I’m not going to let them get away with this. I’ll take photo of them and see if it changes their behaviour’.”
The train was forced to sit at the station for several minutes until the taggers moved away.
The Ballarat resident said that when she finally disembarked the train and saw the graffiti, there was nothing artistic about it.
“It’s not art, it’s vandalism,” she said.
As well as sharing the photographs with the conductor of the train, the passenger posted them on Facebook and forwarded them through The Courier’s iPhone app, which provides a powerful feedback channel for The Courier’s newsroom and allows readers to supply news tips, on and off the record.
A V/Line spokesperson said it was an isolated incident, and it was idiotic and unsafe behaviour for vandals to jump on tracks to tag a train.
He said V/Line staff reported the vandalism to police, and CCTV footage of the station was being reviewed to help identify the perpetrators.
“The train was cleaned less than an hour later, as soon it arrived at Southern Cross Station,” he said.
“We encourage members of the public to report vandalism or anti-social behaviour to police or V/Line staff or by calling 1800 800 007 when they see it happening.”
Ballarat’s Community Safety Committee chair Des Hudson said graffiti and tagging continued to be a challenging issue for the community.
He said part of the motivation of taggers was the recognition of their name – or tag – being out in public spaces.
“The challenge is to remove it quickly so there’s no recognition of that tag,” he said.
“For people who engage in tagging trains, that is a really dangerous pastime and we really need to discourage that from happening.”
He said the community should not tolerate graffiti, however there was space for legitimate public art.
Cr Hudson said the Ballarat City Council had a strategy of rapid removal to discourage graffiti vandalism, but it was also successfully using public art to reduce the number of blank canvasses available.
Criminal damage to property can attract a jail term of up to 10 years, according to the Crimes Act.