Sydenham is suffering from a new rash of tagging and etching, with a community leader calling for stake-outs at problem sites to catch the vandals.
However, the city council said it did not have a mandate or resources for overnight surveillance, and the police are reluctant to publicise their covert techniques.
As well as Sydenham, the central city and eastern suburbs have also seen a surge in graffiti vandalism in recent months, and the city council has increased its removal capacity by 50 per cent to help cope with this.
"It's absolutely everywhere. Colombo, Gasson, Durham, Wordsworth ... name a street!" said Sydenham businessman and resident Doc Ross.
The graffiti problem declined after the February earthquake but there had been an increase in the last few months, he said. And there had been an epidemic of window etching before the earthquakes, and now it had started again.
Mr Ross said taggers attacked certain areas almost as soon as they were cleaned up, and it should be possible to stake out these locations and catch the vandals. "It's the same tags all over the city - a small number of people creating havoc," he said.
On the stake-outs suggestion, Senior Sergeant Rob Patterson of the Christchurch South Police said they utilised covert techniques but usually did not publicise them. They could do camera surveillance in specific areas when the need arose.
Police had noticed a lot of new graffiti in the Christchurch South area recently, he said.
This damage was criminal behaviour and police would prosecute. They also worked proactively with the city council graffiti unit.
Graffiti made up about 14 per cent of wilful damage offending, and provisional data this year showed wilful damage had increased by about 15 per cent on the same period last year, he said.
Council community support unit manager Carolyn Gallagher said the council did not have a mandate or resources for surveillance but was very keen to let people know how to report graffiti, by calling the call centre on 941 8999 or 0800 VANDAL.
"They can also go to the council's website and complete an online report," she said.
"We need to know the nearest street address, and a description of the graffiti is very helpful."
It was important to mention if the graffiti was offensive through racial or other references, offensive words, offensive pictures etc, as these would receive priority attention.
She said the council was cautious about highlighting specific "hot spots", as this could be seen by graffiti vandals as recognition of their efforts. Most were motivated by recognition of their work by their peers and publicising their work would support that aim.