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IPSWICH people are being invited to come together and help cut the annual $350,000 burden shouldered by ratepayers to remove graffiti.
Cr David Morrison said Ipswich City Council would join six other south-east Queensland regions to combat a problem which has been tagged a significant social and financial impact on communities.
"The purpose of Graffiti Action Day is to unite and engage communities in combating this unsightly form of vandalism," Cr Morrison said. "The vast amounts of money spent on getting rid of graffiti could otherwise be used for schools, roads, parks and other community improvements."
The first Graffiti Action Day, to be introduced during Crime Prevention Awareness Month in October and co-ordinated by Keep Australia Beautiful Queensland (KABQ), will get community groups and other volunteers together.
Through KABQ, Ipswich City Council will give registered participants graffiti clean-up kits with goggles, gloves, chemicals, brushes and cloths.
"This event is expected to improve community spirit and morale and raise awareness of graffiti removal and prevention methods," Cr Morrison said.
"It will be a co-ordinated community day much like Clean Up Australia Day, but for vandalism."
He said research showed that graffiti made people feel unsafe, reduced business patronage and could serve as a catalyst for further crime.
"Often the presence of graffiti leads to an increase in other crime activity in the area, and leads to a perception of reduced public safety," he said.
Most graffiti occurs on exposed walls and fences. The vandals responsible seek to impress their peers and strengthen their reputations by putting their 'tags' in as many places as possible.
Besides cleaning up graffiti, Graffiti Action Day encourages crime prevention through environmental design.
Through a partnership with Landcare Queensland, KABQ will also focus on planting trees and native plants to deter graffiti.
"Graffiti, like many crimes, thrives in areas that lack people and visibility," Cr Morrison said.
"Through the redevelopment of these problem areas it is often possible to eradicate many of these challenges without having to take enforcement action."