ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
Graffiti attacks are rife in Emerton and tenants are sick of cleaning up the mess. But they know fighting it alone is not working. They’ve called on the community to unite against the issue bringing the area down.
AS THE town’s main shopping strip drowns in a sea of graffiti, tenants are pleading for assistance.
Latest figures from the Bureau of Crime Statistics show an average of three cases of malicious damage are committed a day in the 2770 postcode, with 1164 incidents reported in the 12 months since June last year.
Although it represents a 3.8 per cent decline on the previous period, cases of malicious damage to retail and wholesale businesses (70) remain stable.
Christ Church pastor Efren Lozano said the overwhelming graffiti attacks on the buildings occupied by the church and businesses on Popondetta Rd were giving the area a “bad name”.
“It’s disappointing to see this happen, and it is a community issue,” he said.
“Everyone is responsible and we all need to be trying to stop this.
“It is giving the place a bad name. The people here are good people.”
Residents have taken to Facebook likening the commercial strip to a “ghetto”.
And recently, the suburb was nominated in The Standard’s Neighbourhood Rescue campaign.
Mr Lozano said he has approached police, Blacktown Council and surrounding schools for help and, despite the unsightly attacks, he was concerned the vandals were putting their lives at risk.
“We have handed over CCTV footage (to police) so, hopefully, they can catch those responsible,” he said.
Bill Anton, from nearby takeaway store Oz Chicken, said he was “fed up” with the constant vandalism attacks.
“It’s bloody terrible. I am sick of painting over it all the time,” he said.
Mt Druitt real estate agent Ben Price said he had managed two commercial properties in Mount St, Mt Druitt, where graffiti was once “a huge problem”, including Uncle Buck’s and Daniel Thomas Plaza.
“One way we overcame it was, every day new graffiti showed up, we would take it off immediately,” he said.
“It was so expensive at first but ... now we very rarely have any to take down.”
Mt Druitt crime prevention officer Senior Constable Paul Bates agreed “rapid removal” was important.
Blacktown Council continues to spend $1.2m of ratepayers’ money across the local government area in cleaning up and educating against graffiti.
It also offers significant financial rewards to those who dob in vandals and provide information, which leads to a successful prosecution.
It’s disappointing to see this happen, and it is a community issue.
– PASTOR EFREN LOZANO
One in Christ pastors Jessie Malibiran and Efren Lozano are fed up with the graffiti in Emerton and (inset) a young person is caught on CCTV vandalising the area.