A GRAFFITI blitz has taken over the city, with vandalism up by almost 30 per cent on the same period for last year.
Hot spots for illegal street art have been picked out, including Botley Road, Abingdon Road and North Oxford.
Three arrests have been made and police claim they are cracking down on the daubings by collecting a gallery of commonly used “tags”.
Insp Andrew Thompson, the neighbourhood inspector for the city centre, has said that together with Oxford City Council they will seek compensation from anyone found to be responsible for the street art.
He said this could leave some prolific artists having to pay back thousands of pounds.
Insp Thompson said: “We have had reports of an increase in the amount of graffiti in areas such as Botley Road, Abingdon Road and in North Oxford.
A phone box door off Abingdon Road
“It has been fairly indiscriminate.
“In response to that we have been working to get that removed and identify the people who have been doing it. You are talking about tens of thousands of pounds of damage to public buildings and bus stops but also to people’s homes and businesses.
“We are looking to seek compensation orders as well as civil claims from those who are found responsible. It is not just criminal convictions we are looking for.”
Figures from Oxford City Council show that in the last two months 303 incidents of graffiti were removed, while in the same two months last year the figure was 237.
Inspector Andy Thompson
Insp Thompson said Thames Valley Police is working with the city council to put together a record of the tags and images found across Oxford to help them catch the street artists responsible.
He said the force is also working with other bodies such as the city council to draw up an action plan to get any graffiti removed from private and public property.
InspThompson said it costs in the region of £125 to clean one graffiti tag.
In response to Thames Valley Police’s crackdown, three people have been arrested.
A container in Osney Court, off Botley Road
One, Charlie Silver, 23, of no fixed abode, has been charged with criminal damage and will appear at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on July 28.
He was arrested in connection with the graffiti which appeared on the Clarendon Centre in March.
Another person was arrested on June 5 and has been bailed until July 10 while another male who was arrested in the early hours of Thursday.
City council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “We do not believe the graffiti situation in our city has got worse of late. However, there are often sporadic increases in the amounts of graffiti incidences over the course of a year.
A building at The Queen’s College Sports Ground, Abingdon Road
“We have invested in a dedicated team and specialised graffiti removal vehicle to improve the service we offer and we offer many ways for members of the public to report graffiti, including our online channel found at oxford.gov.uk/graffiti.”
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