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Campaign on Graffiti Continues

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Monday, March 5, 2007 27


Campaign on Graffiti Continues



Transport Reporter:


GRAFFITI vandals were responsible for the cancellation of seven train services last month.

Another 29 trains were cancelled because of other vandalism, includ¬ing smashed windows and damage to train interiors, Connex says. Vandals are costing the private rail operator $6 million a year.


Graffiti removal from trains, stations and other railway property costs the company $1.3 million a year. Another $2 million is spent on extra security to try to stop the vandals. So-called graffiti tour¬ists were last month placed on community ¬based orders in the Mel¬bourne Magistrates' Court for causing $12,000 damage to trains at the Newport railyards. The NSW trio, who had disguised themselves as Connex workers, broke into the railyards and splashed the trains with murals and tags.


A Connex spokesman said graffiti and vandalism were continuing sources of frustration. He said an Asset Protec¬tion Unit had been set up, in conjunction with Vic¬toria Police, to catch vandals. “Although it is and will remain a constant struggle, the APU has had considerable success in apprehending vandals,” A Connex Spokesman said “This unit not only apprehend graffiti vandals but also film and take images of vandals undertaking their acts of vandalism and collect as much information about the vandals, car registrations house numbers etc. and identity and the type of murals certain vandals do, then pass this information to the police. This is so that when the police have enough evidence on past offences, the vandals can then be charged with mutable offences. There are a number of known vandals that are under surveillance by the APU at the moment.” A Connex Spokesman went on to say, “The sword of Damocles is above the head of these vandals and they are oblivious to the fact.” A Connex Spokesman would not be dawn on the total number of APU officers in operation“ He simply said, “Legion.”


A Connex Spokesman went on to say, “Nonetheless; vandal¬ism in its many shapes and sizes continues to impact on our services, causing delays and can¬cellations.” Connex was required to remove graffiti on trains or at stations within 24 hours of it being reported or 72 hours of it being applied.


He said it was also res¬ponsible for the removal of graffiti at car parks; sub¬ways and overpasses with¬in the station precinct. But he said Connex was not responsible for graffiti in other places along rail lines, unless it was deemed offensive and a complaint had been lodged. He said Connex had 14 days from the date of a com¬plaint to remove it.


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