Transit authorities and local councils have for years been looking to all manner of new high tech electronic sensors to detect graffiti vandals, but in New South Wales it’s the humble four legged hound that’s become the Transport Minister’s new best friend.
Transport for New South Wales on Tuesday paraded seven of its sniffing sentinels that have been put to work nosing out illegal spray painters who target trains and rail facilities, with Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance citing a swag of recent arrests and a haul of 1200 spray cans attributed to the success of the dogs.
Mr Constance’s media unit went into overdrive to promote the canines, throwing cultural caution and political correctness to the wind.
“These seven German Shepherds are an integral part of the blitzes that target hot spots for trains to be attacked by vandals, including at stations, maintenance centres and stabling yards,” Mr Constance said.
“These blitzes have resulted in graffiti incidents dropping from an average of 27 per week to only four per week at some of the targeted locations, and in some sites where there was previously high levels of this criminal activity, there have been weeks where we’ve had no recorded incidents of graffiti or vandalism.”
The militarised anti-graffiti meme being pioneered by Transport for NSW and its minister was further enhanced by the dogs parading their “Canine Service Medals” that were recently awarded to them by the Australian Defence Force Trackers and War Dogs Association for their effectiveness in protecting Sydney Trains.
The chief executive of Sydney Trains, Howard Collins took a more traditional approach to talking-up the success of the dog squad, saying the canines are part of an ongoing anti-vandalism strategy targeting graffiti across the rail network to provide safer and cleaner train services.
“Not only does graffiti make our trains unattractive to customers, but people are also risking their lives when they trespass on the rail corridors. We spend more than $30 million a year removing graffiti and fixing the damage it causes,” Mr Collins said.
“We’re committed to tackling it from all angles, including working with the Police Transport Command, improving the train network’s lighting and fencing and running these targeted operations.”
Schmackos all round.
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