Deviance – Graffiti & Vandalism
Graffiti is one of the most visible forms of crime, defacing both public and private property. It costs the community around $200 million each year and has emerged as a key priority in crime prevention for Australian states and territories. Since the founding of the Australian Institute of Criminology in 1973, Institute staff have been engaged in research on matters of public policy that include policies on Graffiti and Graffiti prevention.
Graffitists are mainly young adolescents and include both girls and boys, although boys predominate. They come from a wide range of social groupings and areas. Many are self-organised into loose groups of gangs, some of which are geographically based, and all appear to
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This may reflect increased detection by police, particularly of graffiti offences. 1,436 of these offences were graffiti-related in 2011/2012, up 112.4% from 676 graffiti offences in 2010/2011.” Rennie Ellis, collector of Australian graffiti, has described graffiti as “. . . the result of someone's urge to say something, to comment, inform, entertain, persuade, offend or simply to confirm his or her own existence here on earth” Interviews conducted by Institute researchers with young persons engaged in graffiti confirmed this observation. Much of Sydney's graffiti, whether it be tags or stylised signatures or multi-coloured drawings and the graffitist's name also reflected a style of pop culture which has been wildly publicised and popularised amongst Australian adolescents through films, television and music video clips and books. There is also the suggestion that graffiti artists are influenced by Howard Becker’s labelling theory, which is based on the idea that behaviours are deviant only when society labels them as deviant. When someone is labelled as a graffiti artist it can influence their decisions to graffiti and in some circumstances it can be more influential than peer pressure – which also poses great influence on younger offenders. James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling’s Broken Window theory states that maintaining and monitoring urban environments in a well-ordered condition may stop further vandalism