Vandal or artist? | Fremantle Herald Interactive

Source: Vandal or artist? | Fremantle Herald Interactive

Interesting discussion, from an art point of view but graffiti is not an artistic point of view but a point of law.

If you have permission to place a drawing, mural, scratching etc, its all cool, if you don’t have permission then its vandalism which is a crime.

The fact that Fremantle council is finally joining reality has to be a good thing.

As comments by the mayor in the past have left Fremantle as a magnet for criminal vandals, taggers, etc, but encouraging graffiti by referring to it as art or looking for artistic merit, which gave Fremantle a dirty slum look in parts. Its not a good look for tourists and visitors to our city. Its also not a great attractor for investors or new business.

“The Sunday Times can reveal WA Police wrote to Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt urging the council to reconsider its decision to no longer remove graffiti from public buildings if it is deemed to be art.

Instead, council officers will send photographs of the graffiti to the city’s public art advisory group to determine whether it should stay. Though the move has been welcomed by local artists, police complain it contradicts the State Government’s graffiti policy.

“Criminals will be drawn to the area,” the letter from the WA Police Community Engagement Division warned. “We know that 73 per cent of those apprehended in police operations … are engaging in other more serious offending behaviours, which will essentially encourage other crimes in the area.”

Police said it would also result in more damage on buses and trains, posed a risk to surrounding councils and would damage the port city’s tourism.”

Another great decision by our Mayor, well done. Its just poor policy followed by worse then 1/2 arsed attempts to fix the damage its caused. This has to be the worse decade Fremantle business and retail has ever seen?

Vandals have actually been reported by police to have said, that graffiti was ok in Fremantle as the mayor encouraged it.

The idea of saying vandalism has an artistic merit has to be considered an act of insanity, who is a local government to say its ok for some idiot to spray your house, fence, home, business, etc,  because some fools on the council thinks it has artistic merit, please give me a break.

FREMANTLE Council is set to defy a police warning that its new graffiti-friendly policy will make the port city a haven for criminal activity.

If someone chooses to have their property sprayed , painted, drawn on etc, while i may not like it, its not graffiti as they had permission to do it, which is the main point.

The heading for the story Vandalism or Art is just a distraction as the only point is permission or not, legal or not.

What is disturbing is the councils direction that goes against state law. Now we see more and more stupid positions taken by council are now being changed, to directions of common sense.

The Mayors idea to invite street begging in Freo, then months later once common sense comes home a tightening of laws, and restricting them. The same for inviting the homeless to Freos CBD, something Perth was stopping but our Mayor invites in only to change direction later, graffiti another poor decision to later rectified. The loss of Myers also no concern for our Mayor as he embraces bohemian quirky retail only later to admit that Fremantle needs quality retailers. Its just a litany of mistakes and back tracking on poor choices, causing years of damage to Fremantle’s retail sector, just seconds of common sense thought would have foretold the disaster coming. One step forward, 5 backwards.

Anti social behavior is killing CDB business we have seen in the past retailers state this, just yesterday I had friends tell me of sitting in the CBD area having street beggars harassing them for money in the la fresco dining area, then going into the cafe to harass diners for money only to have a mouthful of abuse for not handing over the cash.  As it stands I believe we have more small businesses to leave Freo due to poor poor traffic and anti-social issues, both going hand in hand.

Now we see commissioned pieces of work down at the old navy stores vandalized, much harder to fix than a plain painted wall.

Fremantle will not have its renaissance of business without sorting out its anti-social issues, sadly these issues go hand in hand with our current council, that fails in will to rectify these issues. They are the ones who encouraged graffiti, vagrancy and anti-social behaviour, all having a negative impact on retail and business in Fremantle.

Homelessness is a serious issue and our state and federal governments need to do a better job addressing these community issues. Its not our councils job to attract these issues to our city and leave retail, business and residents to deal with the repercussions.





Common Sense Hits Freo Council like a Bolt of Lightning


Tonight at SGS Common Sense came in like a lightning bolt from Dave Hume.

Maybe it was because Dave was sitting in Bill Massie’s chair, maybe as he stated he had listened to concerns of rate payers and residents.

The issue was investment in High St Mall upgrades councils calls it a Revitalisation Strategy, anyway back to Dave bolt of common sense. he question not the upgrade its self but the idea of the timing of doing it, which is intended to attracted better retailers, shoppers etc, etc, without addressing 1st, the underlying problems/reputation Freo has for anti-social behaviour.

Dave argued that these issues are part of the core of Fremantle woes in attracting back retailers and shoppers, possible new businesses and their customers as well.

As Dave started his comment on cleaning up Fremantle, fixing the begging issues, homeless, drunks, druggies, anti-social behaviour, graffiti is part of it too, a stunned look appeared on a few councillors faces, I think surprise that he would dare bring these issues up. Imagine a councillor raising real community concerns, how dare he???

common sense

Strangely over the last year Freo was reported to welcomed street begging, that Perth was driving out, then they later start restrictions on them just before Christmas, so first they make the problem, then try to sort it out??? Bit like the graffiti issue as reported by police many taggers claimed that Freo Mayor  is pro graffiti so its ok here????

Dave well done, good to see a voice of the community being represented in the council.

Strangely no mention of issues like public facilities were listed, thought I have heard Bill Massie, promoting public Toilets and parent areas for infants in the mall.

Further to Dave bolt he questioned approving funds where there was no specific costing done on any areas or even discussion on what the money would be spent on. Cr Pemberton asked the committee to commit the funds for the area, but asked the wording to be change for item one in the officer’s recommendation, to allow more general use of the funds not necessarily limited to the actual list presented at council. Another presented the window of opportunity was small and action was needed quick, personally i think they should check the window is open before they dive on in marking more work to be undone.

So all in all good common sense points from Dave on that, sadly it was lost 4/2 with SGS passing the motion.

High St Mall does need revitalisation, then again so does most of Freo, let’s hope our funds are invested wisely and council takes on the issues raised by Dave and Bill.

Fremantle Graffiti, Crime or Art


The title above is a question only for Fremantle, it seems quite clear everywhere else.

Picture above shows Fremantle’s Heritage D.O.D. Married quarters, this is an ongoing  crime with constant graffiti.

Oxford dictionary describes  graffiti as

Writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place:the station was covered in graffiti.  mid 19th century: from Italian (plural), from graffio ‘a scratch’.”

Wiki describes at as

“Graffiti is writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface, often in a public place.[1] Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and it has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Egypt,Ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.[2]

In modern times, paint (particularly spray paint) and marker pens have become the most commonly used graffiti materials. In most countries, marking or painting property without the property owner’s consent is considered defacement and vandalism, which is a punishable crime.”


The state law of W.A.  says

Criminal Code

“In Western Australia, under the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913, graffiti vandalism (graffiti) is a criminal offence.  The 2010 doubling of penalties and legislative inclusions banning sale and supply of spray paint and certain implements to juveniles elevates the seriousness of graffiti as a criminal damage offence.

The way in which graffiti has been managed in the past has been determined mainly by responding to community concerns rather than through a more focused, intelligence led and research-based approach.

Graffiti Vandalism is illegal and police are now taking a tougher approach in targeting offenders.”


So its quite clear if you graffiti on someones property with out permission its a crime, not really anything to do with art, if someone gives permission for a, whats the term, ,,, urban artist to paint their wall or property, its allot different than someone with their face covered creeping around in the middle of the night, vandalising stuff.


So i don’t know, where the City of Fremantle can decide whats a criminal act or not i thought that’s what we had, a police department and court system for? They either had permission or not, who cares what they drew, after the fact is a little late, isn’t it.

So if crime looks good is it ok? Maybe if your balaclava is hand knitted from yaks wool by mountain monks it better than the guys B&E with a Tar-jay $1.99 stocking? I don’t think so. Can we as a community condone criminal acts because a few think its artist, is that a new catch cry  for Fremantle, “Artist Crime”?

For a community to have direction on wrong or right its better for the leaders to give the same signals, as not to add confusion on whats acceptable and whats not? Case in point.

Brad is (news article) seen standing in front of some mural in town, which if was done with permission, is not considered graffiti and in some cases look better than a plain panted wall, i wouldn’t call it graffiti, whether people like it or not its personal taste.


Look at Points St or its car park graffiti tagging is out of control, can u find a street in Fremantle that’s not tagged? Fremantle has become a magnet for taggers.

East Fremantle has another spin on it, so what happens after the amalgamation, is graffiti now art in EF? A quote from community news paper “Fremantle Police acting Senior Sergeant Adrian Roberts said he had noticed an increase in the number of graffiti cases in the past few months, with a high number of perpetrators claiming they believed it was now legal to graffiti in Fremantle.”

A  quote from the Goodbye Graffiti website run the WA Police force,

“The development of the ‘broken windows theory’ by Wilson and Kelling[3], proposed that the presence of graffiti may impact on the level of crime. They identified that a disorderly environment sends a message that no one is in charge, thus weakening community controls and inviting criminal behaviour. Graffiti that is not removed may therefore attract more graffiti[4].  Rapid removal may be seen as a means to reduce further graffiti incidences and prevent escalation into more serious crime by maintaining and restoring the community environment.”

Asian tourism is the fastest growing market in the our country, graffiti sends a message of disorder, crime, danger, lack of personnel safety, lack of respect, etc, This is not going to help tourism in general, its also one of the 1st sights our cruise ship visitors see and does not make  a positive 1st impression.

Want to Report Graffiti in your area or 1800 44 22 55


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