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Zero tolerance goes from strength to strength

10 February 2006

Zero tolerance goes from strength to strength

The Zero Tolerance to Graffiti programme continues its success with the number of reported incidents of graffiti significantly down on this time last year.

Auckland City's Public Safety and Community Order Committee today received an update from Rob Shields, the council's graffiti prevention officer on the achievements of the graffiti prevention team during the last quarter of 2005.

Mr Shields says that through a coordinated programme involving Auckland City, community volunteers, local schools and the police, the tide is beginning to turn.

"The zero tolerance programme shows what a community can accomplish when it works together. People are realising that they do not have to stand for graffiti damage to their property, there is a network of support, advice and resources available to them.

"The volunteer programme now has over 400 members and the number is growing every week."

During the four months from September to December 2005, over 374 litres of paint were provided to the volunteers along with brushes and graffiti remover. During the same period, Auckland City's graffiti prevention team cleaned a further 6,493 sites across the city.

A recent street audit shows the zero tolerance to graffiti strategy is working, particularly on main arterial routes. Mr Shields explains, "There are some areas that continue to have a greater problem than others; Avondale, Grey Lynn and Mount Roskill continue to be the most prevalent areas for graffiti - but preventative action is focussed on these areas and the numbers are gradually starting to fall."

The graffiti awareness education programme, developed by Auckland City for primary schools is widely recognised as a valuable component of the curriculum. It has now expanded to include 53 schools.

The programme aims to make children aware of the consequences of tagging. The children play an important role in their local community by reporting the incidence of graffiti back to school or parents. The education programme also acts as a deterrent to younger vandals by making them aware that they will be held accountable for the damage they cause.

Councillor Graeme Mulholland, chairperson of the Public Safety and Community Order Committee says, "Graffiti can have severe negative effects on a community's sense of safety and security. The graffiti officer for the Zero Tolerance programme works in close partnership with the police, and together they have identified 367 vandals who have now been held accountable for their actions - including one vandal who was recently sentenced to nine months imprisonment.

"The best way to prevent young people offending is to hold them fully accountable for their actions."

The Zero Tolerance to Graffiti programme has been in operation for 3 years and has been responsible for cleaning over 60,000 graffiti sites.


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