Controversial graffiti has become the latest issue at one of Launceston’s hotspots for anti-social behaviour – Tatler Arcade.
The alleyway in the centre of the city has been covered with “offensive” language and swastika symbols, sparking concern from local businesses.
Coffee Republic owner Robin Smith said it made the city appear neglected.
“Graffiti attracts more graffiti and it’s so close to the centre of town,” he said.
“I was mostly struck by the swastikas ... that’s why I’m disappointed in the council, I’d have thought they would have leaped into action when it’s offensive. We’re not talking about a great cost or effort to remove it.”
The vacant shops being targeted by taggers are owned privately and City of Launceston Alderman Hugh Mackenzie said “unfortunately it was the owners problem to deal with”.
“We would obviously recommend the owners remove it as soon as they can,” he said.
It’s not the first time Tatler Arcade has been brought to Alderman Mackenzie’s attention.
A driving force behind the push to relocate the St John Street bus stops, which are located in front of the arcade, Alderman Mackenzie said graffiti was part of a bigger problem of anti-social behaviour in that area of the city.
“I’ve always been of the view the bus stop is in the wrong place … you need to have it somewhere where people can get on and off and not be a nuisance,” he said.
Launceston Inspector Darren Hopkins said the bus stop and arcade were areas police had been focusing on for several months through increased foot patrols with drug sniffer dog Fang.
It is an offence to mark graffiti and anyone charged with that offence could face a fine of up to $3140.
“These people are damaging private property and they are encouraging more riff raff into the area,” Inspector Hopkins said.
“We certainly will prosecute and actively pursue those responsible when we can.”
Anyone who has witnessed individuals marking graffiti in the Tatler Arcade area or anywhere else in Launceston should contact police on 131 444.
“Assistance from the property owners would also be appreciated to help improve the cosmetics of the place,” Inspector Hopkins said.