17 Jun 2016

Tagging on Christchurch streets and buildings is fading away as Christchurch City Council targets the problem with help from volunteers.

Results from the annual graffiti scan carried out by the Council’s Graffiti Programme, show a 48 per cent decrease in tagging and other graffiti from 2015.

This follows a 52 per cent drop in graffiti seen around the city in the 2015 scan compared to the previous year.

Christchurch City Council Graffiti Team Business Co-ordinator Sarah Gardyne presented the latest scan results to Community Patrol volunteer groups and Neighbourhood Policing Teams.

She said the amount of tagging had fallen in every suburb except Beckenham and Spreydon. In Phillipstown and Linwood East the amount of graffiti had decreased by a whopping 86 and 87 per cent from last year. Russley had a 100 per cent decrease with no tagging found – something that has never happened before.

This year, there were only six “saturated” graffiti sites, where 10 or more tags were seen, compared to 21 saturated sites found in 2015 and 109 in 2014. Graffiti hot-spots include the Avon Loop, Aranui, St Albans East, and Waltham areas.

Council Graffiti Team Leader Valerie Merryweather said the results were positive but they did not necessarily mean there was less graffiti being carried out. There had been a big increase in reporting of tagging from an army of volunteer graffiti spotters and other residents. The Council’s ‘Snap, Send, Solve’ app meant that up to 600 tagging reports were being received from the public each month so Council staff are able to act quickly to remove graffiti.

“The scan results are from a snapshot in time and, while they're heartening, they aren't necessarily the whole picture. Graffiti is being reported a lot more so that means it’s getting cleaned up faster. I think the fact that we’ve had volunteers and Neighbourhood Policing Teams out helping us has made a big dent in the graffiti problem. It’s all about partnerships.”

She said seven Community Patrol volunteer groups are being issued with a smart phone so they can use the Snap, Send, Solve app more easily when they are out on patrol.