Graffiti and vandalism attacks in Cambridge have cost ratepayers nearly $1,000 a week since the beginning of July, Waipā District Council has revealed.
Council says that over the last six weeks, Cambridge has been plastered with spray paint in attacks by vandals.
The skate park was hit four times in four weeks and there has been tagging in Milich Place, Halley’s Lane, the Cambridge Superloo and at the Leamington Domain.
The problem is so bad in Cambridge, Council has now hired a specialist graffiti removal company to get on top of it.
Council’s Community Services Manager, Brad Ward said the wave of destruction follows a report in March which identified increasing vandalism, with Waipā’s public toilets and barbeque areas targeted. Fires were lit and gates aimed at keeping reserves protected were deliberately broken – one within hours of being installed, says Mr Ward.
Since March, not much has improved. In Cambridge, it has got considerably worse, he says.
“Staff are absolutely fed up with it,” he said. “These brazen idiots have total disregard for public property. Typically they creep around at night because they are too gutless to be seen during the day. But lately we’ve had issues in broad daylight. Surely someone is seeing something and if so, we’re urging them to report it.”
Council has increased security at key spots around the district, closing off some reserves at night and installing speed bumps and bollards.
Mr Ward wants the community to “step up and speak up.” And he is asking private property owners to clean graffiti of their buildings quickly, if they can.
“We have our hands full taking care of public facilities and unfortunately, private buildings are not something we can cover,” he said.
He believes those involved in Cambridge can, and will, be caught.
“Someone always knows something. The community provided the information that led to the arrest of those involved in damaging the Hautapu cemetery. There’s no reason why these vandals should be getting away with it and no reason why we should let them.”
Residents who see suspicious activity should safely take photos or videos of people in the act, note vehicle number plates and pass that, along with vehicle descriptions, to local police. Reports could also be made via www.police.govt.nz. Damage and graffiti should be reported to Council immediately by calling 0800 924 723.