Graffiti cleaner fights to cope

Steve Pittorini at work.
Steve Pittorini at work.

Kleenit’s Steve Pittorini said his workload had doubled in recent times and not just because of the school holidays ” a popular time for graffiti vandals.

Statistics from the City of Cockburn appear to back up Mr Pittorini’s claims. From January 1 to July 17, 2012 there were 396 reports of graffiti in Cockburn. That number has nearly doubled to 755 reports for the same period this year.

‘They’re mainly tagging spots where they hang out,’ Mr Pittorini said. ‘We’re doing about 80 clean-ups per week so this year has been pretty full on.’

Mr Pittorini has removed Cockburn’s graffiti for more than three years and said he felt he was fighting a losing battle.

‘I’ll do a spot and they’ll see the graffiti is gone and come back and do it at the exact same spot,’ he said.

‘It slows down my work when I can’t keep up. Plus it can leave permanent damage to the surfaces they tag.

‘You can never get it back to how it was.’

State police recently said that eight metro councils ” of which Cockburn was not one ” had revealed a significant reduction in their graffiti removal costs. But local police were a little less optimistic. They said statistics were difficult to assess as graffiti in obvious places like bus stops was not always reported.

‘Also graffiti is a perception offence,’ Sergeant Brett Reyne, Cockburn Police Station’s officer in charge said.

‘If the public think that it has increased then it is because it affects them in some way.’

The City removes graffiti on residential properties for free. It also offers free graffiti removal kits. To report graffiti or to obtain a kit, telephone the graffiti hotline on 1800 44 22 55.