What works and what does not work in reducing juvenile graffiti offending? A comparison of changes that occurred in the frequency of persistent graffitists' patterns of offending following the announcement of two successive initiatives aimed at reducing graffiti proliferation
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
Although the reality is that most young people are law-abiding when some juveniles are found to be engaged in acts of antisociality or criminality, a moral panic is often generated. Governments are then faced with the difficult task of implementing crime prevention policy initiatives that not only deter juvenile offending but also do not heighten the general public's fear of crime. The Western Australian Government's approach (like many other Western governments) to this dilemma is largely a penal one. As graffiti is a common entry crime, this study examined Western Australia Police records of the offending histories of 629 juvenile graffiti offenders over a 6-year offending time period (2004-2009). In this regard, the time interval (in terms of number of days) was calculated to determine whether Age and Gender offending differences existed. In the final stage of the analysis, a subset of 1056 successively recorded graffiti offences was examined in relation to the announcement of two different graffiti-reduction initiatives, namely, the 2004 increased financial and incarceration penalties for recidivist graffiti offenders and the 2007 graffiti hotline for reporting graffiti and its linked (Crime Stoppers WA) mechanism for reporting a graffiti offender (that is, 'Bag-a-Tagger'). The study's results show that no significant decrease occurred in the interval gap (that is, number of days) between the recorded graffiti offences in the two years following the announcement of the 2004 increased penalties initiative, but a significant change did occur in the interval gap between the recorded graffiti offences in the 2 years following the announcement of the 2007 report initiative. The implications of this finding are discussed.