Town graffiti in firing line
Matamata’s new prevention officers want the community’s help to curb further graffiti after Broadway businesses were hit.
‘‘We want the community to report issues like graffiti so we can direct resources accordingly,’’ prevention supervisor Blair Hayde said.
‘‘I see community problems as a community issue and not just something for the police to deal with,’’ he said.
He saw himself and Matamatabased prevention officer Aimee Searle as just one of the cogs in the machine that dealt with problems like graffiti.
Mayor Jan Barnes, who had met with the two-person prevention unit to discuss the issues, said the whole community, especially business owners, landlords and tenants needed to work together to keep the town pristine. She encouraged people to report issues like graffiti to the police in a timely manner.
The unit would be collecting data from those reported crimes and then directing resources accordingly, Hayde said.
Both the mayor and the prevention officers said graffiti needed to be removed quickly.
‘‘We know the longer a piece of graffiti stays up in one place, then graffiti will occur there more often.’’
As the unit’s aim is prevention, they have already mooted long term prevention solutions such as making the top of Broadway businesses inaccessible to taggers. ‘‘We try to change the environment where the anti-social behaviour is occurring,’’ Hayde said.
They would also be supporting youth activities, like Starfish’s Domaininator, that kept youth busy doing positive activities.
The unit, which covers Matamata and Piako, did not just focus on preventing graffiti but also family violence, alcohol harm and road crimes.
Hayde said they tried to find the underlying issues that could spur youth to commit crimes in any of those categories and try and solves those issues.
Both the local police and the mayor were grateful that local business owners, Lynne and Graeme Martin, of Evo Steam cleaning were offering free graffiti removal with their steam cleaner to any businesses on Broadway.