By DANIELLE GALVIN
TERRITORIAL taggers squeezed out by the anti-graffiti movement in Casey may be moving in on Pakenham, damaging properties and angering local residents.
Anti-graffiti campaigner Steve Beardon, a former Casey councillor, said the recent explosion of graffiti across Pakenham could be Casey youths travelling down the train line and making a name for themselves in the shire.
“The problem when we are extremely proactive in Casey is that Cardinia borders us,” Mr Beardon said.
“So because vandals know they won’t last in Casey, they will go to Pakenham.”
He said graffiti is a gateway crime that leads to other criminal acts, including initiation into gangs.
“Right from the beginning these kids are exposed to illegal activity, down the track it can lead into drug dealing,” he said.
Mr Beardon spoke out against teen sensation Justin Bieber who was embroiled in a slagging match between a Gold Coast councillor and resort management at a Surfers Paradise hotel who allowed him and his “crew” to graffiti a wall nearby.
He said it was disappointing that someone with such a high-profile would promote such anti-social behaviour.
“I am definitely not a fan of his music or his graffiti,” Mr Beardon said.
“Kids do mimic their idols and it is unfortunate that he would be encouraging people to graffiti.”
Mr Beardon said that one tag was symptomatic of a wider problem.
“There is a huge campaign to legitimise graffiti, like the ad campaigns for Adidas and like Bieber,” he said.
One resident – who did not want to be named for fear of retribution – contacted the Gazette and said the problem had become much worse in the last two months. The resident, who lives in central Pakenham, has more than 50 images of graffiti sprayed walls, fences and businesses he has collected in one day in one residential block.
He said he had heard that there was an “element of aggression” in the tagging that he found concerning.
“There is a certain regularity to it, as soon as it’s cleaned up there’s fresh tags the next day or so,” he said.
Pakenham police reported that at least four cars were sprayed with graffiti between 10pm on 6 December and 6.30am on 7 December in Mallee Circuit, Oaklands Way and Grevillea Place.
The cars were graffitied and damaged with various tags.
Businesses in Station Street were also targeted between 6pm on 5 December and 8am on 6 December.
In Cockatoo, a car in Spring Street was graffitied at about 5pm on 1 December.
Cardinia Shire Council spokesperson Paul Dunlop said the council cleaned up graffiti on council-owned buildings and encourage residents to report any anti-social behaviour.
“Council takes a strong stance against graffiti and is doing everything we can to address incidences of graffiti around Cardinia Shire,” he said.
“We are working in partnership with police and other agencies to ensure graffiti artists get the message that their tags will not be tolerated.
“We also encourage residents and business operators to play their part in taking responsibility for removing or minimising the risk of graffiti on their own property.”
Mr Dunlop said there are things that everyone can do.
“These include reporting suspicious activity to police and taking pride in our community,” he said.