Graffiti is vandalism – pure and simple and its real impacts on a community are considerable. Graffiti across London cost £100 million to remove in 2002. The current cost of removal to Tower Hamlets is upwards of £400,000 per year.
Graffiti can reduce property values and depress economic development. It may even be used to disguise directions to the locations of drug sellers. Graffiti is a blight on our community and can lead to the “run down” feel to an area and to an increased fear of crime.
Graffiti vandals commit criminal damage on all sorts of surfaces and at many locations. Graffiti vandalism is done by marker pen, aerosol paint, mechanical or acid etching. Sales of aerosol paints to under 16s are illegal. Graffiti vandals can be and will be prosecuted wherever possible.
Unfortunately, graffiti vandalism sometimes contains offensive and racist messages. These need to be dealt with quickly and where possible the perpetrators prosecuted by the police. If graffiti is obscene or racist, it will be removed from council property or estates within 24 hours.
The council may remove graffiti from private property but requires a signed disclaimer before it can do so.
Graffiti vandals can expect to receive a fixed penalty notice for £80 for minor offences. However, perpetrators of racist graffiti are prosecuted by the police and will receive sentences of a fine of up to £5000 or six months imprisonment or both if convicted in the Magistrates Court. If a vandal is convicted in the Crown Court, this anti-social behaviour will attract a sentence of up to 14 years imprisonment or a fine or both.
How do I report graffiti?
On public buildings or highways and street furniture
You may report graffiti on public buildings, highways and street furniture:
On a Tower Hamlets housing estate
If the graffiti is on a Tower Hamlets Homes managed housing estate contact your local housing office.
On managed private property or private roads
Removal of graffiti on private property is the responsibility of the owner(s). Many have their own graffiti removal teams in place. So in the first instance, contact your housing office or premises to organise graffiti removal.
On other private property
Tower Hamlets council recognises that individual owners/occupiers of private dwellings do not have access to a graffiti removal facility. So if the graffiti is not too large and is accessible from the road or a car park, Tower Hamlets council may arrange for its removal free of charge, subject to a disclaimer being signed by the owner of the property.
To see if you are eligible please contact us.
What happens next
Once reported we can send an officer out to inspect the graffiti and depending on the content and location, can arrange its removal.