Queenslanders can fight the war against graffiti through:
- Calls to Crime Stoppers in Queensland (1800 333 000) for reporting graffiti on public or Government own assets. The hotline service is operated 24 hours per day.
- Damage to personal property (eg fences, etc) should be reported directly to Policelink on 131 444 so that the QPS Taskforce Against Graffiti may record details of the TAG involved. You then need to clean up the graffiti yourself.
- Uploading images and reporting graffiti offences 24 hours per day, 365 days per year via this website page found directly by the url http://www.graffitistop.com.au see below.
- Using portable devices including smart phones and tablets to report and upload images of graffiti (Note - software compliant portable devices are required).
PLEASE NOTE - the GraffitiSTOP app in the app stores is currently faulty. The mapping system comes up with an error. You can touch ok and proceed past this and still see your GPS location etc and submit a report.
A replacement APP is currently being developed. You will soon be able to download it instead and these screens will be deployed to the existing app in the near future:
Neighbourhood Watch - Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) is a philosophy and an approach to working together as a community to reduce crime and enhance community safety. Visit www.nhwq.org and subscribe to receive community news, events and important information related to your neighbourhood area. To sign up for your local area neighbourhood watch blog, to contribute articles and comment on the important issues in your community, please visit: www.nhwq.org/signup
Information provided through the hotline, this website, mobile app or via the mobile enabled site, will be provided to the local government (council) where the graffiti is located, if the graffiti is on a public asset or Government Owned Corporation asset.
GraffitiSTOP was launched on 04 November 2012 and funding ceased on 30 June 2015. Crime Stoppers Queensland Limited has continued to deliver the service within its community funded activities.
Removal from private property is not undertaken by local government - it should be reported to Policelink on 131 444 and then removed.
Graffiti prevention is a challenge for all local governments in Queensland. Graffiti can be prevented through improved landscaping, lighting, early intervention programs, offender community service programs and community partnerships with local governments and the Queensland Police Service.
In Queensland, graffiti will be removed within seven days. This rapid removal may deter offenders as their work is not on display.
It is well known that crime can be prevented through improvements in 'environmental design'. Removing access by planting vegetation in front of walls or fences is a great way to reduce opportunities to graffiti public property. The use of easy to clean surfaces will assist with rapid removal of any unwanted graffiti and deters would be offenders.
Offenders dislike well lit areas. There is a bigger chance of being spotted and caught after being seen by a member of the community in the process of committing an offence. Crime in well lit areas is not common. Sensor lighting or motion detected lighting that fills a dark space assists with preventing graffiti application.
Early Intervention Programs
Many local governments provide staff to speak with youth and adults about graffiti crimes and the impact they have on the community. Some local governments also facilitate community art and murals as part of urban art features. These strategies decrease the opportunities for would be offenders.
Click on these links for more information from local governments about graffiti management:
Many graffiti removal efforts can leave surfaces looking as bad or worse, than before the work began.
1. Identify the surface type and substance to be removed:
Brick, stone, concrete, aluminium, utility boxes, poles, street signs, bus shelters, pavement, wood, and glass are just some of the materials that can be vandalised with graffiti. These surfaces can be smooth or textured. Some are painted while others are unprotected.
While most graffiti is applied with spray paint, graffiti vandals also use markers, adhesives (stickers), shoe polish, lip stick, stencils, and etching products. The length of time graffiti has been on a surface impacts on how easily it can be removed.
Depending on the substance to be removed, each surface requires or responds better to a particular method. Use a simple graffiti removal chart for ideas about where to start.
2. Select a removal method:
Except for paint, most anti-graffiti removers are not available at local home improvement, hardware, or paint stores. They are specialty industrial products and are often sold in bulk to cities, counties, or professional graffiti removal companies. Graffiti removers that may be sold in retail outlets are likely to be for small clean up tasks.
Following are the three most common removal methods:
Paint is used to cover over graffiti on smooth, painted surfaces. It is fairly low cost (ranging from donated paint to 6 cents per square foot), and paint is a relatively safe product compared to removing graffiti with some chemical solvents.
Chemical removers vary, but typically the stronger the solvent, the faster it will dissolve or remove paint. In some cases, stronger solvents may require more safety consideration or personal protection. A solvent or cleaner that is poorly matched to a particular construction material, however, may create aesthetically unappealing results. Successful product selection is critical.
For small jobs, such as removing spray paint and markers from light poles and utility boxes, use a chemical removal product with a cloth and/or scrubber. Easy and safe one-time use products, similar to "handi-wipe" are also available. Larger jobs will require an industrial product and may require professional application.
Pressure washing equipment uses water or water in combination with a solvent to remove graffiti from a surface. A solvent may first be applied and then the surface is washed with pressurized water. Sometimes a blasting media, such as baking soda, is used to remove graffiti. While pressure washing is effective, it can wear down the surface being treated.
3. Apply a protective coating:
There are two types of protective coatings, sacrificial and non-sacrificial or permanent. Sacrificial coatings are protective, but come off when graffiti is removed and must be reapplied. Non-sacrificial or permanent anti-graffiti coatings are unaffected by the graffiti removal process and remain on the surface.
While some paint products have similar properties to anti-graffiti coatings, that is not their intended purpose and they are not likely to be marketed for that use.
|Surface Type||Removal of Spray Paint and Similar Materials (markers, shoe polish, lip stick, stencils, etc.)|
|Etching - Etching may be repairable on some glass (seek out a professional); replace glass. Adhesives - Scrape away as much of the adhesive as possible; use nail polish remover or acetone-based cleaner to remove remaining residue. Be aware that acetone-based solvents can soften plastics.|
|Aluminium, Fiberglass||Paint remover (sparingly); rinse with water|
|Glass||Razor blade to scrape off; can also use paint thinner|
|Masonry (includes brick, marble, stone, tile, granite, and concrete)||Power washing with low pressure; sand or soda blasting (may create a shadow); paint remover or chemical graffiti remover/solvent applied with brush and rinse with water; paint over|
|Metal||Paint thinner or chemical graffiti remover/solvent and rub with steel wool or sandpaper and rinse; power washing; paint over|
|Pavement||Chemical remover and power washing; soda blasting|
|Street Signs||Chemical remover (make sure it does not remove reflective coating)|
|Stucco||Paint remover/chemical remover and rinse with pressure wash; paint over|
|Utility Boxes||Chemical remover with cloth or scrubber|
|Vinyl Siding||Chemical solvents sparingly as they may remove the vinyl coating; repaint with primer first|
|Wood||On painted, unweathered wood can try mineral spirits; power washing with low pressure; sanding; repainting|
Use the following guidelines for an effective paint-out: Removing graffiti by painting new random square blocks provides graffiti writers with a new, bright canvas. Improper paint selection may also lead to bleed-through of graffiti due to poor durability. When painting over graffiti, colour match the paint to the original surface colour. If this cannot be done, repaint the entire surface. If limited by time and/or paint, paint the entire surface from ground level up to a certain height (making sure that the line of paint is clean and straight). Prepare the surface.
Painting over a surface that is not properly prepared may lead to peeling and cracking of paint.
Ensure appropriate surface preparation before painting over any graffiti:
• Clean the surface of any dust, dirt, grease or oils.
• Apply paint only to a dry surface.
• Make sure the surface is dull. To achieve this, sanding may be necessary.
• Ensure the surface is sound before painting over it. Check for cracks, rust, water damage, or other signs that indicate the surface is in poor condition.
Select the right paint
Poor paint selection and repeated paint-outs have the potential to cause surface damage, allowing for structural deterioration.
When painting over surfaces like wood, concrete, block wall, and brick choose "breathable" paint, such as acrylic latex (i.e. paint manufactured so that moisture can pass through the product and escape from inside the surface).
Multiple coats of paint on the same area can also prevent surface pores from breathing, causing structural and maintenance problems. Painting over a surface that already has several coats of paint may require using a pressure washer or scraping and sanding to properly prepare it for a new coat of paint. Consider applying a protective coating after 2-3 paint-outs to prevent the need for repainting.
Ensure proper clean-up
Remember to use a drop cloth when painting to avoid dripping large amounts of paint on the sidewalk and other areas around the site. Also, promptly clean or properly dispose of equipment such as cleaning brushes, rollers, and buckets.
It is often illegal and always environmentally irresponsible to allow dirty cleaning water into the sewer systems or into the soil. Disposal method will likely vary depending on the amount and type of material requiring disposal (water, water and other materials, paint, etc.). Check with local environmental or solid waste services about disposal options, and be sure to read the product label recommendations for disposal.
There are five basic types of chemical graffiti removers, which come in a variety of forms including gels, creams, and liquids:
• solvents containing chlorinated hydrocarbons
• solvents containing monoglycol ethers and glycol acetates
• solvents containing diglycol ethers
• solvents containing polar solvents
• solvents containing miscellaneous solvents
When using any chemical remover, keep in mind who will be using the product, the safety precautions to follow, and any training required for the product user.
Be careful to read and understand all safety precautions prior to using any pressure washing equipment. Significant damage and/or injury can occur if used improperly.
Pressure washing a surface to remove graffiti can be accomplished with three types of washers:
• Pressure Washers
• Power Washers
• Jet Washers
Each is affected by a combination of factors:
This refers to the intensity of the water stream. General cleaning usually requires medium to high pressure (500-1500 psi).
Water flow rate
This refers to the supply of water to the spray head, and determines the impact force of the spray just as much as the pressure rating.
Spray nozzle design
Nozzle design determines the shape of the spray and has a strong bearing on the success of the cleaning process. A fan-type nozzle providing a spray fan angle of 15-50 degrees is considered best for graffiti removal and general surface cleaning. Larger angles reduce spray impact but increase area coverage, while a 0 degree pencil jet produces an intense impact harmful to soft or crumbly masonry and wood surfaces.
Heated water is useful for graffiti removal from metal surfaces where expansion of the metal helps break the bond. Heated water used in combination with solvents, may reduce their removal effectiveness.
Chemical or abrasive additives introduced into the stream
Apply the chemical product first. Agitate surface and allow for proper dwell time. Follow these two steps with water blasting. When combining chemical removers with water, ensure that the chemical is neutralized (effectively diluted) with water.
It is recommended that the graffiti to be removed be approached at a steep angle (as close to the wall with the spray wand as possible) to undercut the graffiti as much as possible. This will allow it to peel from the surface. Coming straight at the graffiti to be removed may drive it further into the surface.
Never use a power washer on glass. The pressure will break it. Never aim a power washer at another person or animal.
ALTERNATIVE BLASTING MEDIA
Be careful to read and understand all safety precautions prior to using any blasting equipment. Significant damage and/or injury can occur if used improperly. During the past decade, alternatives to conventional sandblasting have evolved that are effective and environmentally friendly:
Ground walnut shells
Ground walnut shells offered one of the first viable options to silica sand. The walnut shell is softer than sand and less abrasive to walls and structures. Upon impact, most walnut shell particles shatter into fine dust, minimizing surface damage. The downside is the increased cost and reduced speed of removal.
Baking soda crystals
Armex technology (baking soda) emerged shortly after use of ground walnut shells. The Armex media is softer than both sand and walnut shells, and, in many cases, it is softer than the building materials being cleaned. Upon impact the baking soda crystal shatters to a dust. Depending on the availability of water with the blasting equipment used, the soda crystal dust is dissolved and rinsed into the drainage system as a non-toxic residue.
Soda crystals, although more expensive, use less volume by weight per minute of operation and take less than 5% of the cleanup time than conventional sandblasting. Soda crystals have been combined with both air and water delivery equipment with preferences for each depending on the application used. This type of blast method, however, is not designed for repeated use as some surface damage is done after each blast. Consider an anti-graffiti protective coating as soon as possible to eliminate blasting damage.
Dry ice pellets have recently been introduced as a blast medium. Here the pellets are discharged via an air delivery system, disintegrating on impact. Both the defacement of paint residue and the dry ice are shattered, with the dry ice returning to the atmosphere, and the paint pulverized to a size that is undetectable around the work vicinity.
Dry ice is available in different size pellets. The size of the pellet containers and the need for specialized blasting equipment limit this method to cleaning large areas of graffiti. The cost for using the dry ice pellet method is much higher than traditional blasting. When faced with removing graffiti from a historic building, however, costs may not be the primary consideration.
Two types of protective surface coatings are currently available: sacrificial coatings and non-sacrificial surface treatments. Each is available in clear or pigmented form. A clear coating maintains the natural appearance of the substrate. These are available in a range of gloss levels to suit the original finish. Pigmented coatings perform the dual function of obliterating existing graffiti and providing a surface from which graffiti may readily be removed. Both sacrificial and non-sacrificial coatings can be applied by brush, roller and/or spray. Brushing is the simplest means of application. Coatings can be applied faster with rollers. Both of these methods maintain a low solvent release rate (allowing for interior surface application). Most manufacturers, however, encourage the spray technique. It is significantly faster, but the rate of solvent vapour release is much higher, preventing its use in poorly ventilated areas.
A sacrificial coating is a removable, protective film that acts as a barrier to defacement materials. It is often referred to as a catcher-coat, as it catches would-be defacement inks, dyes, and resins and prevents surface penetration.
There are currently two types of sacrificial coatings: a solvent-based silicone/wax coating and a water-based polysaccharide coating. Be sure to select the appropriate coating and use high-quality products to avoid yellowing.
Surface preparation for either type is critical. All surfaces need some form of cleaning to remove dust, dirt, grease, or other contaminants before coating. Smooth hard surfaces need thorough abrasion to promote good adhesion. Poor adhesion can reduce the durability of the coating or cause delamination in the event of a fire (allowing flames to spread rapidly across the coated surface).
Typically, sacrificial coatings are not toxic, and, once in place, they often eliminate the need for a solvent or chemical graffiti remover in subsequent graffiti clean-ups.
Non-sacrificial coatings are basically chemical resistant paints. They allow solvent blends to dissolve defacement paints, inks, and dyes, while leaving the non-sacrificial paint or coating unaffected by the cleaning or removal process. Most of these hard, impervious anti-graffiti coatings are polyurethane resin systems.
Recently, two-component aliphatic-polyurethane water-based coatings have become popular. These products often have 5-10 year warranties, regardless of the number of cleanings. The porosity of the surface determines cost.
Manufacturers have enhanced these coatings by adding slip additives, which cause defacement paints to "crawl" or loosely adhere to the protective silicone, polyethylene or Teflon. The graffiti is unable to adhere to these additives so that, if it sticks at all, the graffiti can be easily removed.
When removing graffiti from a surface coated with a non-sacrificial product, obtain a chemical remover (this can often be purchased by the manufacturer of the protective coating), and spray on defaced surface, agitating slightly and allowing proper dwell time. Follow this with water application. Small surfaces can be cleaned with water-filled spray bottles. Larger surfaces, however, may require the use of a water blaster (keep pressure under 1500 psi).
In conclusion – always consider consulting your local government (council) for additional information regarding graffiti management. Bundaberg Area Removal Contact - CUC Contractors Pty Ltd ABN 14 163 278 840 Experience and solvent knowledge for local graffiti removal in the Bundaberg area. Contact Peter 0427 575 195.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is paying for GraffitiSTOP?
This state-wide service was funded by the Queensland Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning until the Labor Government came into office and ceased funding the program on 30 June 2015. Now Crime Stoppers Queensland Limited a registered charity and community volunteer organisation funds the program of works from its community activities.
If I report information what happens next?
Your information will be passed on to the local government (council) responsible for the location where the graffiti has been applied. If it is your personal property, GraffitiSTOP operators will attempt to assist you by providing details on 'free clean up kits' provided by some local governments in Queensland.
If I make a report can you provide me with a Police Crime Report Number?
No. GraffitiSTOP at this time can only take information related to the application of graffiti and seek local government assistance to rapidly remove the graffiti.
If I make a report will you provide my details to the offender?
No. Your personal information remains confidential. In accordance with privacy laws we will only distribute your contact details to local governments if you have given permission for us to contact you.
Why should I provide you with my personal details when the graffiti isn't on my property?
In some cases the local government personnel may not be able to locate the graffiti that you have witnessed and they may need your valuable assistance to identify the correct location of the offence. One way to avoid this is to be clear in your directions provided and ultimately provide a photograph of the offence/location. We want to ensure the graffiti is rapidly removed. If we cannot locate the offence based on what detail you have provided - we would like to contact you for clarification and ensure that the graffiti is removed.
The graffiti is still there or has not been removed?
Please take the time to let us know about this issue again. To save effort - contact the hotline on 1800 333 000 in Queensland and we will locate your original report and follow up.
Can I tell you information about the offender if I know it?
Yes. When you telephone the hotline on 1800 333 000 the operator will also record any details you know about the offender. You can remain anonymous.