Graffiti Prevention In The Community

Graffiti prevention is a controversial issue, especially when retailers have to spend money on preventative measures. The Hardware Association of Victoria has the latest on this issue…

The Hardware Association of Victoria (HAV) strives to ensure that its members consistently receive a quality and responsive service that adds significant value to their business and bottom line, and to the Victorian hardware industry as a whole. The HAV is also a valuable resource for media, corporate organizations, and other industry groups seeking information and comment on issues relevant to hardware and related sectors in Victoria. The organization is committed to developing business strategies and partnerships that will promote the interests of its members and our industry.

The HAV recently played a pivotal role in dealing with the Department of Justice in relation to Graffiti Prevention and local law enforcement in Victoria. In conjunction with the Hardware Association of NSW, the HAV has been an active participant in lobbying against the proposal to ban the sale of on the shelf spray cans. Nevertheless, the ban was enforced on the 1st November 2006. Any retailer in NSW that sells spray cans must now avoid displaying them in any part of the premises that members of the public have access to. Spray paint retailers have also had to install behind the counter lock up cabinets.

Similar legislation has been proposed in Victoria. The intention is to enforce over the counter sales of any prescribed graffiti implement, which includes any aerosol paint container. Obviously, the purpose of this proposed enforcement is to reduce the incidence of graffiti within our community. As stated in the Department of Justice ‘Graffiti Prevention Exposure Draft Bill’, other prevention methods in neighbouring states could be adopted instead. Amongst other things these measures include restricting access to spray paint, enforcing an outright ban on the sale of spray paint, banning the sale of spray paint to under 18s and recording the identities of spray paint purchasers.

While these measures have certain advantages they also have drawbacks. For instance, the draft bill states that when “adopting any of these measures, there is a risk that graffiti offenders could shift to forms of graffiti that are more expensive and difficult to remove.” It also states that “various instruments such as keys, pens, and stones can also be used to mark graffiti.”

In Victoria it is currently difficult to gauge the councils that have voluntarily enforced graffiti prevention methods. In order to obtain this information the HAV in conjunction with the Hardware Association of NSW circulated a survey to HAV industry members requesting information about current council regulations and their judgment on the intention to amend local law. The results concluded that 82.4% of members were opposed to sale restrictions. They also found that the implementation of lock up cages was time consuming and expensive, with over 60% of respondents citing costs in excess of $1,000.00 if legislation was to be enacted. These costs are substantial considering there is no evidence that restricting access to spray cans will reduce the incidence of graffiti vandalism in the first place.

On top of the survey the HAV also submitted a response to the Department of Justice draft bill which further detailed the advantages and disadvantages of prevention methods. It also affirmed the HAV’s stance on the issue. Anyone wishing to view this information can log onto www.hav.com.au or contact Kristy Nimmo at HAV on (03) 9321 5000. More information can be obtained from the Department of Justice www.justice.vic.gov.au.

The HAV will continue to investigate this issue affecting hardware retailers. It will keep members informed of further updates regarding graffiti prevention, local law enforcements and amendments when and if they occur.