Council ramps up graffiti blitz

Council ramps up graffiti blitz
Sean Car

The City of Melbourne has pledged “faster graffiti removal” than ever before, with its Rapid Response Clean Team now proactively patrolling graffiti hotspots in neighbourhoods outside the CBD for the first time.

At their October 18 Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) meeting, councillors unanimously endorsed a series of recommendations from council management, which provided an update on the Clean Melbourne Graffiti Blitz while advising “next steps”.

Since the blitz began in the Hoddle Grid in March and was completed by June 30, the council worked in partnership with various state government agencies and private asset owners including Telstra, Australia Post and CitiPower.

As part of the program, the council called on businesses and property owners to help remove graffiti from their buildings and assets, while encouraging residents and visitors to report it using QR codes located around the city.

The report from management stated that during the blitz, more than 68,000 sqms of graffiti was cleaned across 17,600 locations, equivalent to more than three Melbourne Cricket Ground surface areas cleaned and representing a 140 per cent increase compared to the four months preceding the blitz.

The council noted the success of the introduction of the QR code reporting system, which it says has seen residents play a “greater role” in reporting graffiti with a 60 per cent rise in reporting recorded between March and June.

The council said the “success of the program has allowed council to double down on its efforts and allocate resourcing more effectively, determining the optimal service levels required for each neighbourhood”, while also helping to identify “hot spots”.

 

In the CBD, these hotspots included a section of the Hoddle Grid bordered by Elizabeth St, Bourke St, Swanston St and Flinders Lane, as well as the area adjacent to RMIT University between Latrobe and Franklin streets. 

 

On October 18, councillors requested management implement the “enhanced Graffiti Prevention and Management Plan”, which calls for faster graffiti removal, hot-spot management, continued stakeholder partnerships, youth engagement and making public reporting of graffiti easier. The report also recommends supporting neighbouring councils manage graffiti through the M9 alliance.

With nearly 80 per cent of all graffiti removal jobs having taken place in the CBD, Carlton and North Melbourne since the blitz began, Lord Mayor Sally Capp said efforts would now be ramped up beyond the central city at an even quicker pace.

“For the first time, we’re proactively rolling out our Rapid Response Clean Team outside the CBD to keep even more neighbourhoods clean from graffiti,” Cr Capp said. “Over the next 12 months, we’ll continue to do everything we can to keep our city clean and safe – moving faster to remove graffiti and targeting higher risk locations.”     

“We’re building on the success of the Graffiti Blitz – delivering a new plan to crack down further on repeat offenders, while making it easier to report graffiti across our neighbourhoods.”    

“We’re scrubbing the city clean like never before – we’ve more than tripled the amount of graffiti cleaned every month since the start of the pandemic and seen graffiti reporting double in this time.” 

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