CHRISTCHURCH GRAFFITI REMOVAL
Graffiti vandalism reduces a community’s sense of pride and has a negative influence on that community’s perception of public safety. Prompt removal of graffiti is the best deterrent to keeping urban areas clear of graffiti.
Intergroup has assisted Christchurch City Council to remove graffiti vandalism from Council property and assets for many years. Intergroup works hard to remove graffiti promptly to help maintain a sense of community pride, safety and well-being for the residents and businesses of Christchurch.
Intergroup undertakes graffiti removal in Christchurch seven days a week all year (excluding only public holidays) with the objective of removing all graffiti within 48 hours of notification of its location. For urgent jobs (generally those involving offensive graffiti), the aim is to complete removal within four hours. The graffiti is removed from surfaces using chemical treatment, water blasting and/or by covering it with paint.
Intergroup has three crews on the road undertaking removal during the working week. The crews cover three separate geographical areas and remove graffiti from Council assets (primarily within parks and reserves) as well as other properties bordering Council assets. Intergroup also operates a graffiti spotting crew during the working week which patrols the city and reports graffiti to the removal crews. During the weekend, the graffiti removal operation is scaled back to a single graffiti removal crew operating across Christchurch.
Intergroup logs the location of graffiti located by its spotting crew and also any graffiti reported to the Council by the public. Intergroup uses software called Workbench to log and manage new jobs. New jobs are notified to mobile devices operated by Intergroup’s graffiti removal crews. This system allows the crews to respond rapidly to new graffiti.
Specialist Graffiti Removal Services
Each crew carries a standard range of paint, a water blaster and a variety of removal chemicals. Where necessary, a closer paint match may need to be obtained. Intergroup’s staff are specifically trained to remove graffiti from heritage sites (for example, war memorials). Intergroup’s trained operators work with the Council’s curator to agree and implement an appropriate removal methodology for each heritage site.
The crews face a number of challenges in ensuring graffiti is covered or removed effectively and efficiently. For example, Intergroup staff recently encountered difficulties ensuring adequate paint coverage on some toilet blocks due to the construction materials used for those buildings. During winter months, the paint was also taking too long to dry. Intergroup worked collaboratively with Resene to develop a new paint which they named ‘Waltham Cream’. This new paint has superior surface coverage and requires a maximum of two coats.
The crews use mobile devices, which not only facilitate a prompt response to new graffiti but are also used to document the graffiti and completed work. The details of each piece of graffiti are immediately uploaded from Intergroup’s mobiles and downloaded to the Council’s Tag Force database via Workbench.
This real-time data reporting is analysed by the Council’s anti-vandalism team. Their objective is to identify any potential trends in graffiti ‘hot spots’ so that concentrated proactive graffiti removal can be directed to these areas to discourage further graffiti activity. The Council’s anti-vandalism team also works with the Police to identify and prosecute taggers.
Helping the Community Fight Graffiti
Intergroup is an active member of the Council’s Graffiti Vandalism forum. The forum is made up of Council staff, local businesses, utility operators and community organisations who share information and work cooperatively to fight graffiti in Christchurch. Intergroup staff are on the front lines of the fight against graffiti working hard to protect the amenity of public facilities and to help the Christchurch community feel safe.