The Croydon Conservation Society (CCS) held its annual general meeting this evening and featured Cr. Steve Beardon as their guest speaker.
Cr. Beardon is renowned for being the founder of Residents Against Graffiti Everywhere (RAGE) a community lobby group which seeks the rapid removal of graffiti, community education and stronger enforcement of vandals.
As a community advocate Cr. Beardon (prior to being a councillor for Casey) successfully lobbied the City of Casey to introduce a comprehensive anti-graffiti strategy focused on the eradication of graffiti, the enforcement when the offence is continually committed and education for schoolchildren to deter graffiti usage initially.
The City of Casey’s program has proved to be highly successful with instances of graffiti removed within 48 hours of it being reported via a toll-free hotline. The educational component of the program has had success with students now recognising that graffiti is both a crime and harmful through adverse health and community impacts.
Casey’s anti-graffiti program also avoids punishing the victim of graffiti since hired contractors remove graffiti free of charge to businesses and residents. Many other municipalities request that the victim either pay or paint over graffiti.
Amazingly the City of Casey now spends less on removing graffiti throughout all buildings within its municipality ($118,000) than when it just removed graffiti from council buildings ($140,000).
The City of Casey’s success with its anti-graffiti strategy means similar measures must be considered within other councils.