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.