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The purpose of this report is to present the problems and results of
an investigation associated with graffiti in Fruitgrove, especially
along the train station. This report was written in response from
interested members of the community to the local council.
Graffiti are described as ugly, anti-social daubs (See Appendix A)
which give an expression of urban decay and criminal intent. Not only
does it cause much unnecessary trouble to those around the area, but
also cost the government Â‘significant financial outlaysÂ’ in graffiti
prevention and removal schemes. Therefore, this issue needs to be
1.1 Research Methods
Many different research methods were used to produce this report.
These involve observations, physical investigation and taking photos
around the Fruitgrove train station, survey feedback, books, Internet
research, newspaper articles and local government documents.
It is important to note that one of the limitations of this research
was the lack of time to invite the whole neighbourhood to complete a
survey, especially the younger age groups, who might have a different
opinion compared with the older age groups about this issue.
2.0 causes of graffiti
There are two major causes of why graffiti is drawn. Graffiti is
drawn because the vandals want the satisfaction of/gain more:
Ã Thrilling risks
Ã Attention and recognition
2.1 Thrilling risks
Some people enjoy the thrill of taking risks, and may become
graffitists just for the excitement of it, since there are two parts
to the thrill. Â‘It has been documented that much of the spray paint
used in graffiti is stolen, and that, in fact, part of the
thrill of writing graffiti is stealing the paint.Â’ (Geason and Wilson
1990) The other part of the thrill is the fear of
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2.2 Attention and Recognition
Those who suffer from low self esteem might also become
graffiti-vandals to boost their self-confidence up by thinking the
outsmarted the police if they do not receive any penalties. Also,
Logan Youth Outreach Worker Brett Cutting once stated that the
teenagers vandalised with spray cans because the bigger the risk
he/she took, the more status he/she would gain in his/her group.
3.0 problems caused by graffiti
Graffiti causes many social, economic and environmental problems
3.1 Social Problems
Graffiti contributes to a general sense of fear in the neighbourhood
about crime. Â‘It has been argued that graffiti creates an impression
that crime is out of control, and that this, in turn could encourage
other criminal activity.Â’ (Callinan 2002)
Another cost associated with these scribbles is that it could endanger
the lives of those who attempt writing it. Â‘For the eighteen months
from mid 2001 to the end of 2002, nine people either died or were
seriously injured while writing graffiti on the railway tracks in NSW
alone.Â’ (Callinan 2002)
3.2 Economic Problems
Every year, the government spends an estimated cost of at least $300
million in graffiti prevention and removal schemes. This is a
considerable large sum and would benefit all Australians if put into
good use, such as offering more places and subsidizing the cost of
studying in universities or build better facilities in some
Besides, tourists travelling to Brisbane might feel uncomfortable with
seeing these scrawls, since it gives an impression that crime is out
of control. This might have a great impact on both the tourism
industry and QANTAS, one of AustraliaÂ’s largest airline companies.
Survey results (See Appendix B) show that many Fruitgrove residents
find these hideous daubs not only distressing as it destroys the
natural environmental surroundings, but also degrades the quality of
life. Moreover, residents are anxious that the value of their
property might be affected if graffiti continues to spread.
The research gives evidence that Graffiti is a very serious issue and
should be dealt with quickly.
4.1 Writing Graffiti usually means committing two crimes-stealing the
paint and vandalising private or public property.
4.2 Graffiti creates a sense of fear about crime around the
4.3 Drawing graffiti (especially on railway tracks)
4.4 The government spends a considerably large amount of money
in graffiti prevention and removal every year. This sum could benefit
many if graffiti was decreased.
4.5 Many residents believe graffiti is distressing and would not
only degrade the quality of life but also the value of their land.
If this issue is ignored, more serious problems would arise.
4.6 Since there are no severe penalties, more teenagers would
become graffiti vandals, and the neighbourhood would become an
4.7 In the long run, if the problem about graffiti is still
ignored, the government would have to spend an even larger sum than
now to remove it.
The Local council could help eliminate further cases of graffiti in a
number of ways. The general strategy is to make the crime too
difficult to commit and not make it worthwhile.
5.11 Run educational programs about graffiti prevention and
removal during weekends at suitable times on television
(However, making television programs are fairly expensive)
5.12 Put educational pamphlets (See Appendix C) in letterboxes rather
than only in some Logan City Council Libraries.
(This idea is wonderful because it is an inexpensive and possibly
effective way of preventing graffiti)
5.13 Pass a legislation which does not permit the public to access
spray paints without a retailer.
(This proposal appears to be useful but many disagree with this
because it would be very inconvenient for those who need it for legal
5.14 Encourage Community Surveillance such as
Ã Neighbour Watch
Ã Crime Stoppers
Ã Provide specific hotlines to report graffiti
(This is an efficient recommendation, which works with minimal cost)
5.15 Establish appropriate spaces for a graffitist to exhibit their
work at a subsidized cost. It is considered as an effective way of
providing self-esteem, attention and recognition for the
(This proposal gives the graffitist a chance to display their talents
in an alternative place. Therefore, there would be fewer cases of
graffiti since the graffitist might choose to do legal graffiti
instead. However, there are many residents who dislike this idea
because they believe it degrades the suburb as much as illegal
5.16 1st August (Graffiti Clean Up Day) should be made a public so
that everyone can be involved with graffiti removal.
(The majority of the residents who completed this survey liked this
idea. However, it may cause a lot of trouble, especially to
5.17 In the 1970s, New York developed a variety of anti-graffiti
strategies, which proved to be successful over time. These includes
punishing the offenders by making them clean up graffiti marked areas,
using razor wire fencing to protect the area, and developing materials
to ease graffiti removal.
(This is an ideal plan because graffiti decreased dramatically in New
York a while after these strategies were developed. These strategies
should help decrease the graffiti in Australia as well as it did in
5.21 Encourage owners to build plants and shrubs alongside the
wall. Not only does it eliminate the access, but also enhances the
property and beautification of the suburb.
5.31 Consider providing free public transport for young people on
weekends to give them alternative recreational opportunities.
(Many people disagreed with this because it might result in a tax
increase. Also, the government might have to spend an even larger sum
than graffiti removal schemes on this)
1) Do you think graffiti is a major problem around
Ú¤Yes Ú¤Kind of Ú¤No
2) Do you think graffiti destroys the natural surroundings and lowers
quality of life around the neighbourhood?
Ú¤Yes Ú¤I donÂ’t care Ú¤No
3) Do you think affects the value of your property?
Ú¤Yes Ú¤I donÂ’t know Ú¤No
4) Do you think the government should establish appropriate places for
legal graffiti to be done?
Ú¤Yes Ú¤I donÂ’t care Ú¤No
5) If you answered I donÂ’t care or No, do you think legal graffiti
degrades local areas just as much as illegal graffiti?
Ú¤Yes Ú¤No idea Ú¤Affects Less
6) Do you think 1st August (Graffiti Clean Up Day) should be made a
public holiday so that everyone can help clean up?
Ú¤Yes Ú¤Maybe Ú¤No
7) If the government provides free public trans port for young people
on weekends to provide greater access to alternative recreation
opportunities to stop graffiti, would you agree if they increase your
tax rates by 1%?
Ú¤Yes Ú¤I donÂ’t care Ú¤No
8) Do you think graffiti vandals deserve to be punished by making the
offenders clean up the graffiti marked areas?
Ú¤Yes Ú¤Maybe Ú¤No
1) Felson, M. 1998, Crime and Everyday Life, 2nd Edition Research and
Public Police Series No. 31, Australian Institute of Criminology,
2) Geason, S. and Wilson, P. 1990, Preventing Graffiti and Vandalism,
Crime Prevention Series, Australian Institute of Criminology,
3) Halsey, M. 2002, The Meanings of Graffiti and Municipal
Administration, The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology,
Vol 35, No 2 pp 165-186
1) Courier Mail