What’s the cost of graffiti?
The estimated cost of graffiti removal in Western Australia is $30 million annually. This is the cost to Western Australia’s State government and local Councils, business owners and private property owners to clean up.
Nationally, the cost exceeds a staggering $1.5 billion annually.
In addition to the financial cost, graffiti’s other major harmful impacts include:
- Creating a general perception that crime is more widespread than it actually is
- Undermining community pride
- Diverting money from being spent on better purposes that would benefit the community.
Research also shows that when graffiti becomes more apparent to community members it leads to greater general concern about public safety. For example, the 2014 National Survey of Community Satisfaction with Policing revealed that when compared to other crimes, people perceived graffiti as a major neighbourhood problem, second only to hooning but considered it a greater problem than illegal drug use.
Laws against graffiti vandalism
In addition, offenders can suffer harm from their own graffiti actions. Graffiti is classified as criminal damage, which means offenders who have been found guilty by the courts will have a permanent police record, which can keep them from being accepted for jobs and prevent them from being allowed to leave the country.
Current laws state that a fine of $36,000 and a three year prison sentence can be handed down for criminal damage to any property. It is an offence to be in possession of a graffiti tool with the purpose of committing a graffiti act, and those found guilty face a $6,000 fine.