Patterns of Graffiti Offending Towards Recognition that Graffiti Offending is More than Kids Messing Around

Document Type

Journal Article


Taylor and Francis


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Psychology and Social Science / Lifespan Resilience Research Group




This article was originally published as: Taylor, M. F., Marais, I., & Cottman, R. (2012). Patterns of graffiti offending towards recognition that graffiti offending is more than kids messing around. Policing and Society, 22(2), 152-168. Original article available here


Graffiti is often viewed as a nuisance ‘kids’ crime, an act of youthful resistance and, as such, it is sometimes given a lower policing prioritisation level than more ‘serious’ crimes. In this study, the three-year offending histories of 798 graffitists were extracted from the Western Australian Police Information Management System database. To address the study’s aim of determining whether agedifferentiated patterns of offending exist among three age-cohorts of offenders (i.e. preteens, adolescents and adults), the number of offences, the number of contacts with police, the type of offences and the rank category of each offence for each of the three age-cohort were calculated. The findings reveal that while 96 graffiti offenders had only one recorded graffiti offence, the majority of graffitists (n 702) were recidivist offenders involved in multiple crimes. The most prevalent crime among the recidivist preteen and early adolescent cohort of graffiti offenders was burglary; however, the recidivist late-adolescent and adult cohorts of graffiti offenders committed more violent and drug-related crimes.




Link to publisher version (DOI)