Paint Out Update

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What a great turnout for last weeks paint out day was. Good to see more youths there than adults helping to clean graffiti which is encouraging and sends a clear message to their peers that’s is not ok to tag.


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Police launch website to track and capture graffiti vandals

It doesn’t matter how you see graffiti – whether you consider it as a form of art or as vandalism – there’s no denying is seems to be in abundance.

Several Illawarra businesses and community groups have previously expressed their frustration over repeatedly having to scrub back painted markings and tags from both public and private property. Particularly though, the concern lies with what seems to be an inability to catch the culprits who are adamant about marking their territory.

Well now, authorities are hoping the key to catching the elusive taggers could be as simple as heading online. The NSW Police have launched a new graffiti registry, designed to assist in tracking down and charging local taggers.
The system is called VandalTrak and is an online log where reports or photographs of graffiti can be uploaded by the general public. Police investigators are able to access the data in real-time, in the first step to finding the person(s) responsible.

Senior Sergeant Greg Mahon from the Lake Illawarra Local Area Command says the removal and reporting of graffiti is the best way to stop offenders.”What this system does is it allows us to catalogue those tags and identify hot-spot areas.”It also allows us to identify multiple tags for individual offenders, so that when we do catch them we can – instead of charging them with one offense, we can charge them with fifty.” Snr Sgt Mahon says it is imperative people report tags and other markings.

“The community are our eyes and ears and we can’t solve crime without them,” he said. “VandalTrak takes this to a whole new level.” Anyone can access VandalTrak and Snr Sgt Mahon says it’s simple to use, but will be a huge help to local authorities and communities wanting to clean-up the area.

http://www.vandaltrak.com.au/


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Graffiti idiots The Creeps – Mark Crawley and Samuel Hurst – due for sentencing after several graffiti attacks on the NSW Central Coast

THE notorious graffiti crew “The Creeps” has been smashed with two men, known by their Instagram handles as Captaindickhole and _ken_worth_, due to be sentenced next month.

The pair have pleaded guilty to 76 counts of graffiti following a two-month investigation by Operation Greyline set up in response to a scurge of graffiti attacks on the Central Coast.

Scouring Instagram, the social media “system of choice” for posting images and bragging of their graffiti exploits, police identified five separate taggers; “Kudos, Spel, Sluts, Welt and Dors” as members of The Creeps.
Supplied pics tendered to re The Creeps.
Supplied pics tendered to re The Creeps. Source: Supplied

Cross-referencing various comments and posts officers were able to link the ringleaders’ graffiti tags to their Instagram handles, which uncovered the real life identity of Mark Crawley (Captaindickhole), 22, of East Gosford, also known as “Spel” and Samuel Francis Hurst (_ken_worth_), 23, of Kariong, AKA “Kudos”.

Crawley, who pleaded guilty to six counts of graffiti, was easily undone when under the handle of Captaindickhole he posted a picture of his paycheck on Instagram complaining of the amount of tax. Police checks of his bank account details cemented his identity.
Supplied pic tendered to court re The Creeps.

Supplied pic tendered to court re The Creeps. Source: Supplied

The police Vandaltrack system had meanwhile identified more than 125 tags as belonging to the nefarious group around the Gosford area, including one 400km round trip to Kiama where they and two other un-identified vandals bombed an eight-car train and nearby overpass with a series of murals, some covering the entire sides of carriages.
Supplied pic tendered to court re The Creeps.

Supplied pic tendered to court re The Creeps. Source: Supplied

Google Maps searches and “Geo Coding” contained on mobile phones seized in separate raids of their homes on May 30 – along with spray cans, t-shirts and cameras – enabled police to place them travelling from the Central Coast to the Illawarra at the time of the offence.

Police facts tendered to Gosford Local Court, where the pair appeared yesterday, described the attack as “well researched, planned and executed”.

`”Seized telephone records after the offence also show the accused (Crawley) bragging about the offences to another graffiti offender the day after,” the facts read.

“Given the clean up rates, these offences are in the range of tens of thousands of dollars to both members of the public and the taxpayer via City Rail.”

In all, police seized more than 8000 images of graffiti, many of which attributed to the group and posted on Instagram, along with videos of themselves in the act.

In the videos shot on a camera with the date and time incorrectly stamped – “a commonly used anti-detection tactic in the graffiti community” – they used t-shirts to cover their faces.

But in two of the videos Hurst is easily identified by a large tattoo on his left calf.
Pic of Samuel Hurst AKA

Pic of Samuel Hurst AKA “Kudos” tendered to Gosford Local Court. Source: Supplied

The graffiti attacks ranged from the mindless to the carefully planned, with police uncovering a post by Crawley’s girlfriend of a hand drawn picture of the tag Spel on a piece of paper and the comment “for me” in November only for the life-size mural to appear on a train carriage at Gosford two months later.

In another incident the pair went on a 2km-long graffiti rampage after a night of drinking at the Elanora Hotel at East Gosford on March 23, in which more than 50 tags were sprawled on everything from road side barriers, street signs, bus shelters, fences, power poles and businesses.

Hurst, who after his arrest made full admissions in a recorded interview, was charged with 33 of the tags and a further 37 historical counts of graffiti dating back to 2010 on trains, buildings and a toilet cubicle at Bunnings, Tuggerah.
Pic of tags done by Samuel Hurst tendered to Gosford Local Court.

Pic of tags done by Samuel Hurst tendered to Gosford Local Court. Source: Supplied

Outside court their solicitor Samar Singh-Panwar said they were remorseful and hoped to take part in the “de-tag” program, similar in nature to the driver offender’s course, which involved removing graffiti as part of their sentence.

They both acknowledge that they have done the wrong thing,” he said. Mr Singh-Panwar said they were “otherwise young men of good character” who looked forward “making amends” through the Forum Sentencing process in which they will sit down and apologise to the victims, including Rail Corp and two other property owners.

They return to court on October 28.

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Barry O’Farrell has been forced to water down his graffiti bill

Diluted ... Barry O'Farrell has been forced to water down his graffiti bill.

Diluted … Barry O’Farrell has been forced to water down his graffiti bill. Photo: Quentin Jones

THE NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, was yesterday forced to water down his graffiti bill to get it through Parliament almost a year after it was introduced.

The government supported an amendment by the Shooters and Fishers Party that removed a provision to strip young people of their driver’s licences for graffiti offences.

The bill had stalled after Shooters and Fishers Party MPs sided with the Greens in the upper house in August last year to amend the original version.

Under the original bill, all young graffiti vandals would have faced court and could have lost their driver’s licence. Asked last year, Mr O’Farrell said he would ”use every possible option” to pass the bill.

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The government last week rejected a call by the upper house for a free conference, which would have seen 10 MPs from each house of Parliament try to resolve the deadlock.

The Attorney-General, Greg Smith, said the new laws would require juvenile graffiti vandals to appear before the court for a graffiti offence, give courts the power to extend the time graffiti offenders spend on learner or provisional licences and limit the number of demerit points they are able to accrue over a specific period.


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