Rapid removal of graffiti remains a top priority for council in its bid to eradicate the costly and ugly form of vandalism.
Drummond Street resident Jeremey Stapleton is among a group of residents fed-up with constant tagging and vandalism on public property including bus stops in central Ballarat.
Mr Stapleton said a serial tagger has consistently tagged letter boxes, power poles and bus stops over a number of years and last week went on a “tagging spreed”.
“Council was contacted and they cleaned it up, repainting the bus stops. Not even 24 hours later they had been tagged again,” Mr Stapleton said.
“It’s getting beyond a joke.”
City of Ballarat Councillor Des Hudson said nearly $300,000 a year was spent on graffiti removal.
“The removal of tags can be a long grind in terms of trying to win the battle,” Cr Hudson said.
“The rapid and prompt removal of tagging is one of the strategies in trying to win the longer term issue with graffiti.
“You see that repetitive nature of cleaning (it) and it comes back and it seems like it can be a cycle that is going nowhere. But in the long term it’s about changing the culture.”
Mr Stapleton said a clearer reporting system needs to be established to track the history of vandals to increase the likelihood of appropriate enforcement for their actions.
“There needs to be a database – otherwise it just gets cleaned up and there is no punishment,” Mr Stapleton.
But Cr Des Hudson said existing mobile phone apps including Vandal Track provided residents with the opportunity to photograph graffiti and send it to the database.
“(Tagging) is the aspect of graffiti should have a zero tolerance towards,” Cr Hudson said.
He said councillors were investigating how public art could be expanded into the city to encourage well designed, tasteful public art to fill walls that were currently attractive to vandals.
“People being creative with a blank canvas is often a very proactive form of crime prevention,” Cr Hudson said.