Exact figures in regard to graffiti vandalism are hard to obtain, both because graffiti vandalism is an under-reported crime, and due to irregular and inconsistent reporting of data by government agencies, businesses, the community and private property owners. The following statistics should be considered in this light.
The term 'graffiti vandalism' refers to illegally defacing private or public property with markings and/or graphics without the owner's consent. Graffiti is illegal and an offence under the Graffiti Control Act 2008 (NSW) and the NSW Crimes Act 1900. Types of graffiti contained within this definition include tagging, etching and murals.
A total of 40,317 incidents of graffiti were reported to NSW Police in the five-year period to June 2016 (July 2011 to June 2016), with an average annual number of incidents per year of 8,063. There has been an overall downward trend in graffiti incidents reported to Police over the past five years, down an average of 7.5 per cent per year.
Graffiti hotspots are those Local Government Area (LGAs) with the highest number of recorded incidences of graffiti. The table below lists the top 10 LGAs in NSW with the highest number of graffiti incidents in 2016.
Top 10 LGAs for graffiti
Source: NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), 2016.
In the 2015–2016 financial year, the premises type most commonly reported to police as being targets of graffiti vandalism were residential dwellings (26.8 per cent). This was followed by public transport (19.7 per cent), business/commercial (18.6 per cent) and outdoor/public places (15.3 per cent).
Most common premise types for graffiti
Graffiti vandalism is a crime for which it is difficult to apprehend and therefore, prosecute offenders. For the five years between 2011 and 2016, there were 40,317 graffiti incidents reported to police. Males represented 88.9 per cent (4,338) of all people proceeded against. Juveniles have historically made up a significant portion (60.2 per cent) of those proceeded against.
More detailed information on graffiti vandalism in NSW may be found on the
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) website.