Are there any graffiti statistics available

The Western Australia Police Force collate and disseminate crime statistics for the State on their website.

WA Police Force crime statistics offence descriptions define graffiti as "Unlawful property damage caused by the application of substances (e.g. paint) or etching or scratching, to the surface of the property" (WA Police Force, 2017).

In addition to providing an offence description for graffiti vandalism, WA Police Force note that "most graffiti offences are committed against public property and the number of offences reported during a period can vary due to the strategies and practices adopted by some government agencies, local government authorities and private enterprise" (WA Police Force).

Overall graffiti statistics are problematic and their use, when available, should proceed with caution – graffiti statistics are too inconsistent and unreliable to be used as an accurate information source.

Using Graffiti Statistics

Overall graffiti statistics should be used with caution – graffiti statistics are too inconsistent and unreliable to be used as an accurate information source.

The number of graffiti offences reported and recorded each month can vary considerably and do not necessarily reflect the actual graffiti situation.

Some common problems with graffiti statistics include: 

Levels of reporting

Many individuals are proactive in addressing graffiti vandalism and remove ‘minor’ graffiti from their assets without reporting the incident.

Type of graffiti

The type and frequency of graffiti often makes the recording of graffiti difficult. Given police resources and priorities, it is not practical for the police to record and investigate all graffiti incidents.

Frequency of graffiti

Graffiti ‘tags’ are often placed several times, by the one vandal, within the same area. In some instances these ‘tags’ are being reported as one incident (i.e. one ‘tag’ placed several times) or as separate incidents (i.e. each ‘tag’ reported individually as a separate incident).

Ownership of assets

Sometimes it is difficult for members of the public to ascertain who the asset owner is. For this reason not all graffiti is reported or in some instances the same graffiti is reported more than once by different people.