Town graf­fiti in fir­ing line

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - ABBY BROWN

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.

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