Police are targeting graffiti vandals in Lismore following a spate of attacks on businesses in recent weeks.
And the council has been in discussions with a ‘graffiti buster’.
Echonetdaily highlighted the problem of tagging early last month following attacks on the Station Hotel, the South Lismore Garden Centre, Norco, and a small building adjacent to the railway station.
And while that offender has not yet been identified, police have had some success in other areas.
Police charged two males, aged 20 and 22, with painting graffiti and possessing graffiti implements after they were stopped and spoken to on Uralba Street in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Police allege the two males spray-painted a fence and the rear of a building on Uralba Street, Lismore just before midnight.
‘Thankfully a witness alerted police who were quick on the scene,’ police said.
‘Both males were spoken to and police confiscated a number of spray cans.’
Another 27-year-old male was also charged recently after being spotted by a police patrol near Carrington Street.
‘It is alleged around 9.30pm on 28 August, police observed the male walking near Carrington Street attempting to conceal a metal object under his dark hooded jumper,’ police said.
The man was searched and police found a 750ml can of red spray paint. Police also allege the male was wearing a rubber glove with red paint on it.
Police told Echonetdaily that graffiti vandals would not be tolerated, and they urged the public to provide information on illegal graffiti artists by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800-333-000.
Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said tagging was ‘the only constant negative’ of her position, and that it was a practice that infuriated her.
‘It’s about respect. They think that it’s a harmless, victimless crime … it’s malicious damage,’ she said, citing the cost to property owners, ratepayers and businesses that had to clean up the mess.
Cr Dowell said the age of some taggers was also concerning.
‘About six months ago it was a 37 year old (caught by police). What’s in this mentality is beyond me.’
She said Lismore council had been in touch with Great Lakes Council’s ‘graffiti buster’, Ted Bickford, whose program in high schools had been effective in almost eradicating tagging in the area.
‘There’s no tagging because the kids themselves understand (the cost), because they are being taught in high school,’ she said.
‘But we’ve got to get that message out to these older ones too.’
Cr Dowell urged anyone whose building or property had been tagged to remove it within twenty-four hours to deny the tagger satisfaction.
She also pointed out the good work being done by the talented graffiti artists involved in the Back Alley Gallery, and with other mural sites around town.
‘There’s lots of opportunity for street art in Lismore.’