Western Australia's State Graffiti Taskforce developed the Tough on Graffiti Strategy 2011-2017 which guides the delivery of all graffiti vandalism initiatives in the state.
Its vision is that all Western Australians feel safe living in communities which are free of graffiti vandalism. In 2017, the strategy received a silver award in the police-led category of the Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards.
The strategy outlines three key goals to achieve this vision:
- Decrease the number of graffiti vandalism offenders
- Keep neighbourhoods free from graffiti vandalism
- Ensure all graffiti vandalism is reported
These goals were developed by the State Graffiti Taskforce, which comprises representatives from 16 government and non-government agencies, including Western Australia Police Force, Department of Justice, Department of Education, Public Transport Authority, Telstra and Neighbourhood Watch.
An external evaluation of the strategy conducted in 2015 found that it had been effective in reducing graffiti vandalism and the number of offenders. It also recommended further improvements, which the Taskforce have taken on board along with their own experiences. These are outlined below:
- Partnerships are essential: partnering with other councils and asset owners to agree on guidelines and standards for managing graffiti vandalism will ensure a consistent and effective approach to reducing it.
- Holistic approaches are best: there is no single cause of graffiti vandalism or one type of offender. Any strategy should have a multilayered approach, looking at prevention in school-aged children, diversion, restorative justice and a punitive aspect when necessary.
- Data collection is key: a systematic collection of data allows for interventions to be as targeted as possible.
- The community needs to be invested: when the community is aware of and supports initiatives, they are more likely to stay involved and report graffiti vandalism.
- Strategies should be updated: once an evaluation is completed, the learnings and recommendations from this process should be used to write a new strategy. Factors that are found to be unsuccessful should be revised or removed.
Graffiti removal can be an expensive process and take a lot of time. Therefore, it’s best to focus efforts on early intervention, partnerships and community engagement.