Could this idea tackle graffiti in Sheffield?

Gavin Harper, pictured on Little London Road. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-28-02-19-Harper-3
Gavin Harper, pictured on Little London Road. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-28-02-19-Harper-3

A Sheffield man has come up with a novel idea to deal with what he says is the “growing menace” of graffiti.

Gavin Harper has designed a yellow and black stencil which could be placed over graffiti to obscure it until the council removes it and he has even offered to do the work himself.

He explained: “Cleaning the graffiti leaves a blank canvas for new graffiti and leaving it encourages more graffiti. The public can be oblivious to Sheffield Council’s efforts to clean graffiti so this proposal suggests a dominate, discourage and inform approach.

“The Sheffield Council information stencil would obscure the graffiti, discourage additional graffiti and reassure the public that the council is taking positive action.

“It could inform the public of the cost incurred by them to remove the graffiti and even include a Crimestoppers number. From the graffiti artist’s perspective, their hard work is ruined.”

Gavin has suggested black letters on a high vis yellow box background with low cost, quick drying and easy to remove paint.

He said: “The council could digitally record the graffiti, its location, and the date and time then apply the stencil, obscuring the most predominant graffiti. The graffiti and stencil would both then be removed using the standard method in due course.

“I am offering my services as a subcontractor to create the stencil and apply it to graffiti in a ward of Sheffield that has a high volume of graffiti, over a period of one month.

“Funded by Sheffield Council, initially in a limited area and for a limited duration. If public support is received and/or the graffiti reduced, an expansion can made into other areas.”

Sheffield Council has declined to comment but South Yorkshire Police say other methods are more successful.

Sergeant Matthew Burdett says in an email to Mr Harper: “The best way to combat graffiti is to clear it as quickly as possible. The best example I have seen of this is the Moorfoot building and the NCP car park on Arundel under the O2 where they just paint over the graffiti as soon as it is done.

“The offenders are fully aware that their actions are criminal and we are already capturing evidence for prosecutions.

“The issue lies with timely reporting by the premises to allow for an investigation and review of CCTV in an acceptable time period – we have had people reporting damage three months after the event which holds no evidential value as there is no CCTV and limited lines of enquiry.

“I have visited premises and recommended better lighting, CCTV for vulnerable areas, wall art and timely reporting.”