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Relief for graffiti sufferers in Eden-Albert?

Relief for graffiti sufferers in Eden-Albert?


Ryan Hicks, Eden-Albert Community Board Member and Youth Affairs spokesperson

I welcome the government's announcement of higher fines and more community work for graffiti vandals, and new funding for graffiti control. Eden-Albert has been plagued for a long time by this form of vandalism and it will be welcome relief for our residents.

Residents and the council loose huge sums of money, that could and should be funding community facilities and events, on a daily basis because of this vandalism. In many cases the weaker members of our community live in fear because of the intrusion into their privacy that graffiti vandalism causes, and yet get little support.

Also, as a young person myself, I know that the vast majority of young people are very responsible have no wish to have their image tarnished by the actions of a small minority.

However, in my opinion, further steps are needed. These initiatives are mainly about sending an ambulance to the bottom of the cliff, as they mainly concentrate on the clean up afterwards. Young offenders will continue to fail to pay their fines and fail to do properly supervised community service. These initiatives must be part of a wider law and order initiative where the community requires accountability from the offenders and, often, their families.

Using graffiti as an example, the proposed $2000 maximum fine does not always cover the cost of the damage. We should work towards a system of full restorative justice where the vandal must reimburse the full costs including police and justice system time. Also, as we all know the justice system moves far too slowly. Community work would be more relevant and effective if graffiti vandals were out in the community repairing their damage within a day of being caught.

Finally, many of these measures will still not achieve the ultimate goal - of essentially eliminating vandalism - until there is adequate intervention in and accountability from the families who have produced the vandal. This is where communities have a large role to play in preventing young people from becoming vandals and progressing to worse crimes, by encouraging productive rather than destructive activities, and rewarding effort and responsibility. It has been shown overseas that once the community rejects crime by starting to take firm action on the minor offences, a dramatic reduction in serious crime can follow.

[Please note that these are my own views and may not represent the views of other members of the Eden-Albert community board]

Ryan Hicks

Community Board Member

Eden-Albert Ward

Auckland City

ryanhicks@edenalbert.co.nz

www.edenalbert.co.nz

Have your say on local issues

I welcome comments or suggestions on local issues at any stage.

1. You can email me at ryanhicks@edenalbert.co.nz

2. Join my Eden-Albert email list to get news and comment about Eden-Albert and Auckland issues

3. Comment on my blog: http://edenalbert.wordpress.com/

4. Visit the Citizens and Ratepayers Eden Albert website for more information

5. Join Citizens and Ratepayers and have your say on Auckland's future.

ENDS

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