New laws will combat emerging graffiti threats such as acid etching, making it easier for police to deal with graffiti crime and paving the way for more graffiti offenders to clean up vandalism in the community, Member for Baulkham Hills David Elliott said today.
“The Graffiti Control Amendment Act creates an aggravated marking offence, which will capture acid etching and other graffiti that can’t be readily removed by wiping or using water or detergent,” Mr Elliott said.
The offence carries a 12 month jail sentence and fine of $2,200.
The Act also clarifies that courts can include a community clean up order as part of a graffiti offender’s sentence even if hasn’t been specifically sought by the prosecutor or offender.
“Removing graffiti is a tedious, time consuming and costly task and clean up orders will ensure vandals get first-hand experience of the harm and inconvenience they have caused to our community,” Mr Elliott said.
Mr Elliott said the Act helped to unify NSW graffiti laws, making it easier for police to deal with offenders.
“Local police officers no longer have to search several different pieces of legislation when deciding what charge to lay against a graffiti offender as all the relevant laws are now contained in the one Act,” Mr Elliott said.
Mr Elliott said graffiti laws would target criminal behaviour and would not prevent children and communities from chalking hopscotch squares and rainbows onto footpaths.
“The Graffiti Control Amendment Act specifies that graffiti laws do not apply to the marking of any public footpath or pavement with chalk,” Mr Elliott said.
Mr Elliott encouraged the local community to join the fight against graffiti.
“Tough laws alone will not be enough to win this battle – we also need the community to play its part by reporting graffiti to the Graffiti Hotline (free call 1800 707 125) and by lending a hand on Graffiti Removal Day 2014,” Mr Elliott said.
Graffiti Removal Day 2013 saw an 83 per cent increase in volunteers, with almost 1100 community members taking part in the clean up. Their work resulted in 23,140 square metres of graffiti being removed, saving taxpayers and businesses and estimated $1.5 million in clean up costs. The NSW Government will again be teaming up with Rotary Downunder to run Graffiti Removal Day 2014, which will be held on Sunday, 26 October.