FREMANTLE council is facing backlash about the proliferation of graffiti around the city, after a number of residents cottoned on that it had quietly scrubbed out part of the service it used to offer.
The Chook has been contacted by a number of residents and businesses in the West End about the growing number of tags in the past fortnight, but it appears to be spreading into the suburbs after we got a call from a Beaconsfield resident about a big patch near his local shops.
The council confirmed to the Herald that it stopped removing graffiti from private properties, both commercial and residential, in July this year; there was no media release, nor socials of councillors smiling next to a freshly-tagged wall.
That’s got Greg, a resident who lives near the Round House, fuming.
“They just did this without telling anyone,” he said.
“Our rates have gone up 9 per cent, way more than any of the surrounding councils, they’ve cut our CAT bus and now they have stopped removing the graffiti.
Chris Cookson, who spotted the graffiti out in Beaconsfield, was similarly shocked when he rang to report it to the council, only to be told it was no longer their problem.
Mr Cookson said he fears that the council’s move will lead to graffitists having a field day; part of the aim of removing tags quickly is that it discourages the vandals, but if the tags last, they’ll just keep expanding them.
The City used to have a team from the Fremantle Men’s Shed which did graffiti removal, but these days they only remove stickers.
The City’s nameless response to our questions didn’t answer why the original deal with the Men’s Shed fell through, but the Chook understands it was related to the decision to stop funding their cleaning chemicals.
Graffiti removal is now outsourced to a private contactor.
“Members of the public are encouraged to report private graffiti to police through the Goodbye Graffiti website, where further information and tools around the prevention and removal of graffiti can be found,” was the best the council’s answer could muster, though it “endeavours to assist private property owners with removing graffiti that is offensive”.
by STEVE GRANT