Editorial, The Daily Advertiser, Friday, January 12, 2018

As pointless, brainless crimes go, it’s hard to find a better example than graffiti.

But if deliberately defacing property with tags isn’t enough to cause disgust, how about trashing the building which houses a children’s cancer charity?

Staff at the Wagga office of Country Hope arrived at work on Thursday to find their building’s front windows had been tagged, along with the side and rear walls.

For a charity group which is devoted to helping kids going through a rough time, this seems a particularly cruel blow.

But this isn’t just a one-off. Wagga seems to be in the middle of a graffiti scourge.

Buildings and signs across the city are being targetted by graffiti vandals who seem intent on leaving their mark.

Often when the issue of graffiti is raised, the cry goes out for a designated “street art” area.

There are cities around the globe with designated street art areas, and the results are usually stunning.

The imagination and talent demonstrated by the artists who turn bland building walls into their canvas can be truly beautiful.

But are we mixing two separate issues here?

Would providing a designated area for streets art really stop vandals who delight in leaving their mark in all the wrong places?

The challenge of tagging doesn’t appear to be creating a beautiful piece of public area.

The thrill seems to be in finding the most public place to tag, and the more dangerous, the better.

There is nothing artistic in destroying the property of another person.

Wagga retailers have told The Daily Advertiser that removing graffiti is becoming an all-too-regular occurrence.

It would be disheartening indeed to arrive at work to find the store you’re striving to make successful has been vandalised for no point beyond providing someone with the cheap thrill of seeing their mark on a building, and possibly a little extra frisson if there was some added danger involved in actually doing it.

If Wagga residents would like to have a genuine location for street art, then let’s establish one.

But it is time to stop referring to pointless vandalism and celebrating it as art.

People like the staff at Country Hope should not have to arrive at work and discover they are the victims of a crime which has been committed for a cheap thrill.

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