Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Taggers leave vandalised property in their wake

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Howick Police want to hear from anyone who can identify the person seen in this photo in relation to an investigation into graffiti vandalism in east Auckland. Photo supplied

Police are appealing to the public for information on the identities of two people who allegedly defaced numerous commercial and residential areas in east Auckland.

Howick Police community services supervisor, sergeant Brett Meale, says there’s been a spike in graffiti vandalism in Howick and Botany that involves an offender using spray paint, permanent marker or white-out pen to “tag” buildings, structures and signs.

The first recent incident happened in the early hours of February 9 and saw the culprit graffiti on numerous locations in Picton Street and Cook Street, Howick.

“The main street here and even the Cook Street art gallery were tagged extensively,” Meale says.

“Countdown was tagged on as were numerous buildings, rubbish bins and signs. All tagged in one night.”

The second incident happened in the evening of March 2 and resulted in graffiti being left on additional sites, Meale says.

“A guy tagged extensively around the New World in Howick valley and also through the residential area there.

“He had a child with him. From New World back to Millhouse Drive and Botany Road, that sort of area, he did a bit of tagging through there as well.”

When the Times spoke to Meale on March 18 he said he’d just spotted even more tagging in Howick village.

“It just happened on the weekend. At the corner of Picton Street and Selwyn Road, if you look up where Basalt is, the level above at the awning, someone’s got up there and tagged right along there.”

He says such offenders can be charged with wilful damage.

“We’ll be looking to prosecute once we have sufficient evidence.”

The second person Howick Police wants to speak to about recent tagging in east Auckland. Photo supplied

Meale says he appreciates the work of the Beautification Trust, which removes graffiti vandalism from across Auckland.

“With the tagging in Picton Street we contacted them and within a couple of hours they were here and painted all the stuff out. It was amazing and they provide a great service.

“For any people who notice tagging, the best way to address it is to paint it out straight away, so it’s not there for someone else to come and put their tag, like a competition.

“If people see it in a public place please report it and the Beautification Trust will come out, or on residential areas sometimes, such as fences, and they’ll do those as well.

“We urge business owners or members of the public who have been unfortunate enough to have their property tagged to take a photo of it and then, if able, clean it off or paint over it as soon as possible.

“We’d also like it if people go online and report it to the Beautification Trust or they can phone them.”

The Beautification Trust said in late 2022 it had experienced a 44 per cent increase in the amount of graffiti it had removed in the local community compared to the previous year.

Its staff attended 23,392 incidents of graffiti vandalism and removed 29,709 individual tags.

People with information on the recent graffiti in east Auckland can phone police on 105 or go online to www.police.govt.nz/use-105 and quote file numbers 240213/1876 for the tagging around Picton Street and Cook Street in Howick on February 9 and 240308/2950 for the tagging around New World Howick on March 2.

Alternatively, phone the free and anonymous Crimestoppers tip-off line on 0800 555 111.

Report graffiti vandalism to the Beautification Trust online at www.beautification.org.nz or phone 0800 363 824.

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