16 September, 2020

Graffiti is NOT a victimless crime


On late Sunday night/Monday morning vandals struck Wingello and sprayed or painted Graffiti on most public buildings and signs. The train station, bus shelters, fire station, park signs, village hall and Wingello Village Store were hit. It appears as if the work was interrupted when they reached the store as we only had a few dots showing they started but then left.

This is the first time in memory Wingello has been hit with this type of vandalism and is is important to understand the impact this has.

One would have thought in this time of COVID-19 the vandals would have stayed home and "tagged" or sprayed graffiti on their own homes!

We take justifiable pride in the visual beauty of our little village. In January we were hit with devastating fires which destroyed a dozen homes and many properties. The villagers have spent the last nine months clearing, rebuilding and regrowing getting a semblance of normality back in our lives as we prepare for the new upcoming bushfire season.
A bright spot was the great result that all our public buildings were spared any damage from the ravaging fires. Until now.
It is difficult to understand the reasons for people that spray rubbish on public spaces. There is no artistic value, no statement of belief, just an infantile scribble saying "I was here!"
It's a bit like a toddler discovering that markers work really well on the walls in the hallway at home. There is similar artistic ability and a similar respect for simple beauty. But toddlers have an excuse. They have not learnt the proper boundaries for living in civilisation.
Somehow these vandals missed on those important life lessons as toddlers and don't seem to have advanced in their understanding since then. 
But I hear people say, "It is just youth expressing themselves. Nothing was broken. We can't be too hard on these young people."
Now that is the problem right there.
Graffiti is NOT a victimless crime.
Leaving it on display basically lets everyone know we don't care about our surroundings. Why bother cleaning up the rubbish or repairing broken windows or fences if we can't maintain them ourselves. How can we get the council, or railways or any other public bodies to invest time and effort if we don't care about our village?
So to bring our village back to where we can enjoy the visual simplicity of our amenities, resources and costs have to be diverted to undo the visual damage.
The Village Store already cleared up their damage after spending money on anti-graffiti spray and time to apply the solution. The same for the fire brigade who would rather be preparing for more important things like training the fine batch of volunteers that have just joined the brigade.
The Council now has to clean up the hall and park and the Railway maintenance crews have to divert resources to clean up the marvellously restored and maintained historical railway station.
These costs and resources have meant other activities are delayed or costs are increased.
We are very fortunate that our village has such a good group of residents who care about Wingello. They are not impressed by the insult imposed on the village and hope that the lovely video footage of the vandals and all the evidence they left behind can assist the Police catching up with the fools. 
But we are resilient after surviving the fires, working together through the challenges of the COVID-19 impact and are getting ready for whatever life throws at us. 
It is great being able to call a place like Wingello "Home".

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