Fears of rise in graffiti as community work dips
Timaru's community work sentencings have dropped by up to 35 per cent, the Department of Corrections has confirmed.
That drop has meant fewer workers have been made available to rid the town of its graffiti.
The issue was addressed at the latest Safer Communities Committee meeting, with some members concerned the lack of workers would mean combating graffiti in the town would become a bigger challenge.
Department of Corrections service manager Cathryn Elsworth has confirmed fewer people were being sentenced through the courts to community work.
"There has been a decrease in community work offender numbers in Timaru over the past 18 months by about 30 to 35 per cent. This is due to a number of reasons, including Corrections' initiatives to reduce reoffending."
It is understood some people sentenced to community work have been encouraged to upskill, in some cases putting them into a classroom instead of out in the field. The aim is to get people who are continuing to reoffend into the workforce.
She said offenders who are sentenced to community work in Timaru will continue to remove graffiti, as time and other projects allow.
Mayor Janie Annear, who is also Safer Communities chairwoman, said a Department of Corrections representative had contacted the group to confirm it would be continuing its support whenever it could.
She said Neighbourhood Support and the Department of Corrections would look at ways to work together more effectively.
"We're just keeping a watching brief on it."
The Timaru District Council, Neighbourhood Support, Safer Communities, the police and Community Watch all work together to combat the problem in Timaru.
Their aim is to have graffiti removed within 24 hours of it appearing to avoid copycat behaviour.
- © Fairfax NZ News