Constant graffiti ‘degrades’ Tauranga – NZ Herald

A section of State Highway 2 is continually plagued by marking. Photo / John Borren

The incessant graffiti on a stretch of highway in Tauranga is “degrading the city”, according to a resident, who is calling for the culprits to be arrested.

Graeme Devereaux is tired of seeing the markings along State Highway 2 every day when he drops his kids off at school.

The vandalism occurs along the walls of 15th Avenue at the start of SH2 and a large concrete wall further along SH2 in Takitimu Drive.

“It seems like there’s graffiti once every two weeks, then the council paints it over, then it happens again, it’s like a loop,” Devereaux told Local Democracy Reporting.

“It degrades the city. I mean, who wants to go to a city with tagging and graffiti everywhere, who wants to live in a city like that?

“Something has to be done to try to catch the culprits.”

He suggested installing cameras along this stretch to try to identify vandals.

“I hope something will be done and not in the distant future, but in the near future. Otherwise it will continue, and it will get worse.

“When I came to Tauranga it was never like this, we didn’t have as much graffiti as we have now,” said Devereaux, who has lived in Tauranga for 10 years.

“It’s on freeway columns, overpasses, it’s everywhere. There’s graffiti on people’s fences.

“The city looks terrible. The graffiti is ruining the city.”

He was concerned about the cost of having to constantly paint the labels.

“They have to spend huge sums of money to pay these people to go and paint this graffiti, only to find that in a few days or a week they’re back.

Tauranga City Council has a budget of $180,000 per year to remove graffiti.  Photo / John Borren
Tauranga City Council has a budget of $180,000 per year to remove graffiti. Photo / John Borren

“So wouldn’t it be cheaper to put cameras out there to try and catch these people?”

Roger Brady, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s system manager for the Bay of Plenty, said the agency was aware that a section of Takitimu Drive was often the target of graffiti.

“All graffiti in the Tauranga Urban Area is removed by Tauranga City Council contractors on our behalf,” Brady said.

He said Waka Kotahi had no information on the sites, dates or times for cleaning up graffiti in the area.

When asked if the agency considered the use of cameras a deterrent to vandals, Brady replied, “Waka Kotahi does not currently fund the installation of additional CCTV cameras on the network at graffiti monitoring purposes.”

“Current funding is allocated to existing CCTV assets which play an important role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of the road network in Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty.

“We prioritize addressing road safety issues, such as potholes and other surfacing issues. Although unsightly, graffiti is not considered a safety issue for road users.”

Tauranga City Council transport manager Brendan Bisley said the cost of graffiti removal depended on the size and location of the vandalism, and whether traffic management was needed to remove it safely. security.

Bisley said the council has a budget of $180,000 a year to provide graffiti removal services.

“Graffiti, or tagging, is a serious crime that affects the entire community and requires a strong community response,” he said.

“The best way people can take action against the marking is to clean it up as soon as possible.”

The council provided a free graffiti removal service to home and small business owners who were unable to remove it themselves, Bisley said.

To be eligible for the service, the graffiti must be visible from the road, he said.
Local Democracy Reporting asked Bisley what to do if people see graffiti or someone is tagging.

If people see graffiti that is racist or contains offensive language, they should call the council immediately on 07 577 7000, he said.

“We are also asking people to call us if they see graffiti on municipally owned assets and infrastructure, including roads and highways.

“Graffiti on private businesses should be reported to the relevant business for removal. Cases of serious vandalism should be reported to Tauranga Police,” Bisley said.

“People who see vandalism should not approach the attacker. Instead, they should call 111 from a safe distance and continue to watch or take a photo if possible.

“The safety of our community is our primary concern and we encourage anyone who sees suspicious activity to call 111 immediately,” he said.

When asked if the graffiti is “degrading the city”, Bisley replied: “Working together to reduce vandalism in Tauranga helps create a city we can all be proud of.”

Public interest journalism funded by NZ On Air.

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