Graffiti and vandalism are encountered in urban areas all over the world and unfortunately Australia is no different.
Essentially, graffiti is any drawings or writing that has been illegally scribbled, etched or spray-painted on a publicly accessible wall.
Though it can be artistic and beautiful when done by a professional, most graffiti on buildings is often just crude “tags” featuring the name of the culprit.
Unapproved graffiti is considered vandalism and is defacing property, which is illegal. Most councils try to crack down on random graffiti, but it can still be seen on many strata buildings that would be better off without it.
They can making a less attractive prospective tenants and can increase anti-social behaviour while decreasing property values.
So, what can you do about graffiti or vandalism?
Prevention is the best place to start if you want to get rid of unwanted graffiti on your building. Here are some top tips for dealing with graffiti at your property.
It is crucial to remove any graffiti markings as soon as possible. Hire professional cleaners to pressure wash the area to quickly remove the graffiti.
The longer graffiti is on display, the greater the reward for the vandal and the more likely that location will continue to be targeted.
Removing graffiti is only visually fixing the problem, addressing the root of the issue may take extra steps to prevent further defacing and vandalism.
Who is Responsible for Removing Graffiti?
If only minor repair works need to be done, it may be possible to fix the issue without the need for an official meeting. However, if the problem is significant enough, a meeting of the committee might have to take place to decide on the best course of action.
Broadly speaking, the body corporate is responsible for ensuring that repairs are approved and that they are performed to the desired level.
The funds for these repairs can come from either the Administrative Fund, the Capital Works Fund, or from a Special Levy if there is insufficient money in the first two funds. The fees that make up these funds are determined by the owners at the Annual General Meeting.
Painting your building’s walls with darker colours instead of lighter ones can make it much more difficult for vandals to graffiti your property. Lighter colours provide a fresh canvas and tempting target for vandals.
Additionally, avoid soft texture walls because having rough, uneven textures will be harder to draw and paint on.
Anti-graffiti coating can also be utilised prevent markings being made. Anti-graffiti coating is a heavy-duty coating that provides long term surface protection against graffiti. It is specifically formulated to be applied to a variety of bare and painted surfaces and makes for easier removal of graffiti with high pressure water
Create Natural Graffiti Resistant Areas
Graffiti vandals target surfaces such as walls and fences because they provide a flat canvas to display tags and other markings.
By planting plants, trees or shrubs to help cover these surfaces will help to reduce suitability for graffiti as the surface is no longer flat, and markings are often not recognisable.
You can also plant a hedge or other dense vegetation immediately in front of a wall or fence to act as a barrier to inhibit access, especially if the vegetation has natural deterrents such as thorns or spikes.
Location of plants is vital. Any gaps between plants and the surface may have the opposite effect of providing concealment for vandals to offend.
Install effective lighting, particularly around vulnerable surfaces and store rubbish and recycle bins away from vulnerable surfaces/structures to prevent them being used as climbing tools or used as concealment.
An increasingly popular method for bodies corporate is ‘approved’ graffiti. In this instance, a professional artist paints a mural on the walls, painting over any blank space that might attract a vandal.
However, this may not be suitable for a variety of reasons and can be had to get approved.
Undecorated surfaces are the most tempting for graffiti artists and vandals – so if your property can pull off the ‘painted look’ – then you should approach an experienced, professional graffiti artist or painter to come and do your walls.
This means that you are getting artwork that you actually approve of and that is visually appealing, as well as taking up any tempting blank space.
Reporting Graffiti Vandalism
Graffiti Hotlines have been set up nationally by local councils for residents and businesses. Call your local council, or check out their website, for further details on reporting graffiti vandalism.
- Brisbane Council Graffiti Management
- Gold Coast Council Graffiti Management
- Sunshine Coast Council Graffiti Management
Remember, if you need to contact the police, call:
- Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 to report information on a crime; or
- If the situation is urgent and requires police attendance, call 000
Looking to effectively deal with graffiti? A strata manager can function as a reliable point of contact for repairs relating to graffiti and vandalism on common property.
Get in touch with Stratacare today to see how we can make a positive contribution to your body corporate community.