A campaign aimed at preventing tagging and vandalising of Christchurch buses is off to a good start.
One serial tagger who regularly etches his tag on bus windows causing thousands of dollars damage has been arrested and another, who was caught by an undercover police constable while etching a bus window, has also been charged.
A third person has been caught by a surveillance camera, identified, and the details forwarded to the police.
Senior Sergeant Glenn Nalder is pleased with the initial success of the campaign and says the arrests in its first few days highlight the severity of the graffiti problem.
"The cost of removing etching on bus windows and other graffiti on buses is huge," he says.
"Each operator currently spends around $280,000 annually on replacement glass and window film and on top of this there is the cost of having buses off the road for six hours at a time while replacements are made.
"Ultimately these costs end up being passed on the bus users.''
The initiative, which is running during September and October, will take place on all Orbiters and on 25 buses across three other routes.
Surveillance cameras will be in use and any damage will be photographed and the footage sent to the police. Taggers will be identified and may be arrested.
Buses taking part in the campaign have been cleaned of all graffiti before going out on the road so any new markings can be identified.
Red Bus Ltd has reported that in the first few days of the campaign, buses have come back clean at the end of the day.
A Go Bus Ltd report says while buses on the road on the first day came back clean, one of the buses was etched on the morning of second day.
However the operator was able to identify when this happened and camera footage of the vandal will be passed on to the police.
Leopard Coachlines Ltd reported a significant decrease in graffiti in the first few days.
Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, Maori wardens and the police are working together to address the graffiti problem across the city and have begun by targeting tagging on buses.
However the agencies stress that graffiti is a community problem and are looking for support from other passengers or people who see buses being tagged or etched.
Parents also need to take responsibility for their children's actions.
If you see a person tagging please call 111 and give as many details as possible.
If you see graffiti on a structure eg fences, parks or buildings, please provide the Christchurch City Council with the address details for them to investigate removal.
If possible take photos and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org for the database.
If your property is tagged with graffiti Christchurch City Council may be able to help with this. Call them on 941 8999 or 0800 VANDAL.