New graffiti law can mean time in jail

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A NEW law has been introduced in NSW to combat emerging graffiti threats such as acid etching.

Member for Albury Greg Aplin said yesterday it would be easier for police to deal with graffiti crime and pave the way for more offenders to clean up their vandalism in the community.

“The Graffiti Control Amendment Act creates an aggravated marking offence, which will capture acid etching and other graffiti that cannot be readily removed by wiping or using water or detergent,” Mr Aplin said.

The offence carries a 12-month jail sentence and $2200 fine.

Courts can include a community clean-up order as part of a graffiti offender’s sentence even if it hasn’t been specifically sought by the prosecutor or offender.

“Removing graffiti is a tedious, time consuming and costly task and clean up orders will ensure vandals get first-hand experience of the harm and inconvenience they have caused to our community,” Mr Aplin said.

Mr Aplin said the act helped to unify NSW graffiti laws, making it easier for police to deal with offenders.

“Local police officers no longer have to search several different pieces of legislation when deciding what charge to lay against a graffiti offender as all the relevant laws are now contained in the one act,” he said.

Mr Aplin said graffiti laws targeted criminal behaviour and wouldn’t prevent children and others from chalking hopscotch squares and rainbows on footpaths.

Mr Aplin encouraged local communities to join the fight against graffiti and lend a hand with Graffiti Removal Day on October 26.

Last year there was an 83 per cent increase in volunteers on the day, with almost 1100 community members taking part in the clean-up.

Their work resulted in 23,140 square metres of graffiti being removed.

And that probably saved taxpayers and businesses something like $1.5 million.

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