Surrey’s latest crime statistics have shown a rise in vandalism, of which graffiti is the most concerning one.
Graffiti has started to appear more regularly in the last 15 years, but only recently it has started to spread more widely around the Guildford area and Waverly Borough council. This crime is connected with teenage vandals who purposely mark writings on the street walls which contains swear words or scribbled pictures and are on display until cleaned off. These have been spotted in many different places in and around towns and villages. The most common ones tend to be train stations, public footpaths, subways and sometimes even private properties. Past records have shown that graffiti offenders are not declining, and now more commonly then ever before, organized groups are more responsible for these crimes then the individuals. Some of these have been recorded around Farncombe and Guildford where similar tag writings have been made. Words such as “SPEC” have been seen in several different places. This could indicate that the same group of people were behind these. It has cost time and money for the council to clean these off, a rough estimate would be just under 50, 000 alone this year went towards cleaning off graffiti.
Officer Smith from the British transport police said “ Graffiti has been one of our greatest problems that we have been trying to deal with for quite a while now” Then he went on to say “ Our biggest challenge is to stop it happening, before it has happened. It doesn’t take long to scribble on some writing and then they are off. Usually it tends to happen late at night and are chances are low, so far our success rate has been virtually zero”
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Guildford is suffering the most, but recent evidence suggests that it is spreading more widely in Godalming and Farncombe especially around train stations. When I asked local resident Mr. Andrews 35 about his view on graffiti he said “ I cycle to work every day and I see these drawings on the walls all the time, I think it is just filthy and dirty, this area is nice and peacefull, but these youngsters are just giving off a bad message”.
Both Surrey police and the Borough council are keen to stop or reduce this problem. Surrey crime prevention society is running a anti-graffiti program encouraging people to move it from their private properties. There is more information available on the website http://edie.cprost.sfu.ca/-stare/program/graffiti.html or by calling 589-5279.