The overall winner of the 2015 Crime Stoppers WA Graffiti Action Challenge for schools was presented with the winner’s cash prize of $600 by the Minister for Police Liza Harvey on 10 December.

The winning entry by Amelia Pengelly from Year 7 at Rossmoyne Senior High School showed excellent originality, creativity and practical solutions for reducing graffiti vandalism, according to the competition judges.

As the winner’s school, Rossmoyne receives the school prize of two sessions of mural painting on-site by well-known performance artist Phil Doncon.

Crime Stoppers WA CEO Kim Harrison said the competition was created to help support the WA Police in fighting the major financial and social costs to the WA community caused by graffiti vandalism. He said it is important for students to understand the difference between graffiti and street art.

“The competition attracted entrants from a range of schools in WA. Many practical ideas were suggested by participating students, which will be discussed with the WA Police State Graffiti Taskforce,” he said.

The Graffiti Action Challenge was a free competition open to all students in Years 7, 8 and 9 across Western Australia. Students were invited to create and design practical solutions that would help limit graffiti and raise awareness of the important role that every person can play in reducing this type of vandalism and anti-­social behaviour in our community.

When Mr Harrison asked the 300 students attending the presentation ceremony how many of them in the past month had seen graffiti vandalism in buses or trains or at their school, almost all the students raised their hand. “It is certainly a continuing concern at the local level,” he said.

The project integrates with the approved civics and citizenship module of the Crime Stoppers schools program and supports the Australian Curriculum.

Graffiti in WA costs more than $25 million annually to clean up, and is associated with many other indirect costs that magnify the negative impact on the people of this State.

The project has been funded by a State Graffiti Fund grant from WA Police.

All entrants received a special participant certificate with the possibility of the competition being run again in 2016.