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Tuesday, 7 May, 2002, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Graffiti costs Londoners 100m
Graffiti writers get a thrill like that in extreme sports
Graffiti artists are costing London 100m a year.

The total for the city is 10 times more than was first thought.

A new study has found that children from all social backgrounds are contributing to that bill.

The findings, released on Tuesday are part of a study for the London Assembly.

There is evidence that individuals from well-ordered and better-off families are turning to graffiti as a pastime

British Transport Police spokesman

It added up the cost of cleaning bills from local authorities and transport companies.

Auditors found local authorities spent a combined 7m scrubbing the walls of schools, hospitals and businesses.

Transport companies spent 6m removing daubings from buses and trains.

On top of those costs, the Assembly's graffiti committee investigated the amount lost to the capital's economy from companies who invested in communities plagued by the nuisance.

The overall total came to an estimated 100m.

The cost of graffiti
10m to replace graffiti on tube trains
25 new Arriva buses had 85 windows vandalised in one month
50m street warden programme announced in April last year
40% of nine-year-olds think getting rid of graffiti and litter improves town centres
The study also found graffiti vandals were not just from poor backgrounds.

The British Transport Police is quoted in the report saying it had considered perpetrators as being from "deprived backgrounds" in the past.

"But there is evidence today that individuals from well-ordered and 'better-off' families are also turning to graffiti as a pastime," the report says.

Andrew Pelling, the chairman of the London Assembly committee, said graffiti resulted in unacceptable costs to Londoners.

"The growing costs encountered by the taxpayer and the impact on London's economy means vital cash is not being used to improve our public services.

Legislation call

"It deters businesses from investing in communities."

The Assembly is calling for the Government to introduce legislation to ban the sale of graffiti materials to minors.

"Standards in London for combating graffiti are way below those best practices adopted in other countries and vary dramatically across boroughs," Mr Pelling said.

"A graffiti clean-up across the capital is long overdue."

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See also:

11 Nov 01 | England
Fightback on graffiti front
05 Jan 00 | Americas
How to get ahead in graffiti
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