Walk the Walls success contrasts with widespread vandalism elsewhere

The Walk the Walls murals at Caringbah have been  virtually unmarred since they were painted seven months ago.

Graffiti vandals haven’t been as kind elsewhere, with Sutherland Shire Council having to treat 11,000 square metres of walls, fences and other public property since July last year.

An unknown number of private properties have also been damaged.

The contrast was revealed when Attorney-General and Cronulla MP Mark Speakman and mayor Carmelo Pesce joined in promoting Graffiti Removal Day, which will be held on Sunday, October 21.

They encouraged the community to get involved by volunteering to help at a clean-up site, nominating areas requiring work and promoting Graffiti Removal Day.

Anyone over the age of 12 with the ability to clean off graffiti can volunteer to participate.

 Mr Speakman said the Walk the Walls initiative, for which the state government provided a grant of $50,000, was “one of the best examples of graffiti prevention in NSW”.

“Since the murals were completed seven months ago, there’s been next to no vandalism on them, which is an exceptional result and demonstrates that Sutherland Shire residents love where they live,” he said.

“The artworks have become a major drawcard for locals and visitors, activating laneways and public areas that people previously avoided, while making it less attractive for graffiti vandals to leave their ugly tags.”

Mr Speakman said Graffiti Removal Day continued to grow in popularity “because community pride prevails over senseless vandalism”.

He revealed progress was being made in the war on graffiti.

Recorded incidents of graffiti in the shire dropped from 335 in 2015-16 to 248 in 2017-18. 

Over the same period, the number of recorded incidents  across the state fell from 6599 to 5698.

“Graffiti was wiped out at 428 sites across NSW in 2017 – up from a 100 in 2012,” he said.

Following the success of Walk the Walls, Sutherland Shire Council began investigating other sites for similar projects, but funds need to be sourced and no decisions have been announced.

Cr Pesce said Graffiti Removal Day was “a great opportunity for the community to roll up their sleeves and join the fight against graffiti so we can make a difference”.

He said about 20 per cent of graffiti reports to the council were through the Snap Send Solve app, which could be downloaded free from the App Store or Google Play.

“It is as simple as taking a photograph and sending it through the app,” he said.

To volunteer for Graffiti Removal Day or obtain further information, call 1300 665 310 or visit: //graffitiremovalday.org.au/