Police deny inaction on graffiti crime

COOLANGATTA police have hit back at claims by the town's businesspeople that they are not doing enough to curb graffiti crime.

They say members of the public are simply not reporting the attacks to police.

Representatives from Griffith Street businesses, including Ray White, Markwell Cafe, Clive R. Tune Real Estate, DJ Stringer and the National Australia Bank, gathered last week to express their concern about the increasing number of graffiti tags lining the rear walls of their buildings.

One representative likened the town to a “ghetto”.

But Sergeant Bill Kaz of Coolangatta police said he had checked the police database dating back to January 2008 and there had been no report of the attacks.

“There was one reported incident at Showcase on the Beach, but not one single offence that relates to anything on Griffith Street or Chalk Street in the past 14 months,” Sgt Kaz said.

People need to report graffiti vandalism to police so that they can actively patrol and target specific areas, he said.

“They've got to report it to us.

“We need that intel to generate task patrols and actively target graffiti gangs in that area.”

Carl Peterson from the Professionals Real Estate re- sponded to the claims by saying his office had reported the graffiti numerous times.

“I know our office has phoned the police on at least two or three occasions, and I believe DJ Stringer has also called when their perspex roof was graffitied,” Mr Petersen said.

“So I'm not sure why they are saying that, perhaps they have been misinformed or aren't keeping a record of our conversations.”

Tony Parsons, also of the Professionals, said police had this week visited his office about the graffiti problem.

“We've been advised they are going to increase their patrols and we were told we need to approach council about getting it cleaned off,” Mr Parsons said. “We wanted a reaction (from the police) and that's what we got, so we're happy.”

Head of Coolangatta police, Senior Sergeant Mark Johnston, said police took a zero tolerance approach to graffiti.

“People need to remember that we've got officers walking the beat every Friday and Saturday night, so if they see graffiti tagging taking place they will take action,” Snr Sgt Johnston said. “There is a zero tolerance policy.”

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