News Reports

“Taggers Wreck Windows”

By Sally Hine, Franklin County News,  Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The fight against graffiti has got a whole lot harder in Franklin, as vandals switch their attention to glass.

Last week eight shop windows in Pukekohe and about six in Waiuku were vandalised by offenders using a sharp object to cut tags into the glass.

But this is by no means a first for Franklin, with several other shops throughout the district dishing out large amounts of money during the past couple of months to have their windows repaired.

Pukekohe Police Senior Constable Noel Surrey said there appears to be an increase in etching or glass graffiti which could be a result of spray cans being harder to come by.

“Etching is on the increase at the moment and while it is harder to see than spray paint the downside of it for businesses is that it is more expensive to remove,” he said.

This was confirmed by Hans de Leeuw of Novus Scratch Removal who has been out and about in Franklin repairing windows.

“Unfortunately etching is being done more and more.  We have probably done about 30 shops in Franklin in the past three months,” he said.

The costs for some shops, including Preview Women’swear in Pukekohe, are huge particularly at a time when businesses are trying to cut back and survive the recession, said owner Greg Hicks.

“We were done a few months ago and it was $1600 to fix, it is a lot of money and I know a lot of businesses have had it happen to them as well,” he said.

Fiona Baker of Baker’s Shoes and More in Waiuku also paid out $700 to repair her windows earlier this year and said etching is happening every weekend now in Waiuku.

And many of the shops have been hit more than once, Waiuku Village Butchery was etched for the second time last week and the owner Gary Reid is concerned about what might happen if it continues to get worse.

“This is the second time for us but it is much worse this time.  If it is a trend that continues we’re going to all end up with roller-doors,” he said.

(The reaction from Franklin business associations)


The recent bout of “glass graffiti” in Pukekohe has highlighted the need for CCTV cameras, say Pukekohe Business Association members who are trying to fast-track more camera installations.

Member Greg Hicks said the etching has become a real problem in the district and is costing businesses dearly.  “I know a lot of shops on King Street that have had it, it’s a real problem,” he said.

And it’s not just Pukekohe that is being targeted, said Waiuku Business Association member Fiona Baker.  “We definitely have problems here too with etching, and it’s getting past the point of tolerance.  The fight against graffiti has gone up a notch as it becomes more than just a matter of painting out; we now have to replace or polish glass.”

It is also a problem in Tuakau, said Tuakau and Districts Development Association member Lary Habershon, but overall graffiti is declining in the area.  “We’ve had a bit of etching recently and graffiti is always something we’re aware of, but it’s not as bad as it was in the past.”

Tuakau has 22 CCTV cameras set up around the town centre, which has contributed to the improvements, he said.

Waiuku has 13 cameras but Pukekohe only three, run and owned by Securi-Com Ltd.  Pukekohe has fewer because the Business Association has been working to get the best quality cameras possible,
Mr Hicks said.  “It has taken a long time but we have been working  ery hard to ensure we get the very best quality system.  If you catch someone red-handed it’s got to be very good quality footage to be used as evidence. “

After years of lobbying Franklin District Council, $150,000 has been approved to install and operate CCTV cameras in the Pukekohe CBD.  The contract for this CCTV work should be awarded by early February.

“Graffiti Etched on Glass?
We have the Answer!”

The Education Weekly, Monday, 30th March 2009.

Glass etching and graffiti vandalism is an expensive problem for many schools but there’s a solution which is much cheaper than full glass replacement.

Hans de Leeuw of Graffiti on Glass Removal Ltd has, for the past eight years, been working in Auckland
schools using the Novus scratch removal system to “polish out” glass graffiti.

Schools from primary to secondary are affected and this can be not only expensive but gives a very poor school imabe to pupils and the local community.

“Some of the schools I have worked with have had up to 32 windows glass etched over a single weekend and the cost of full glass replacement has been more than $20,000 in some cases,” Mr de Leeuw says.

“The service I offer is a much cheaper solution for schools and the result is very effective,” he says.

Mr de Leeuw, who also removes glass etchings from windscreens and shop glass, has a special rate for schools that averages $80 per window, and depending on the size of the window and the depth of the graffiti it may be cheaper.

Glenavon School in Blockhouse Bay, Auckland recently had 60 windows including the school community hall, treated by Mr de Leeuw, and principal Mrs Elaine Herbert says she’s delighted with the result.

“Polishing out the graffiti represents a huge cost saving to the school.  It’s really exciting to know you can do this.  Schools should know they can ask the Ministry of Education for financial assistance towards paying for this service,” Mrs Herbert says.

Mr de Leeuw says schools need only to phone his office on 0800 20 20 95 to arrange an appointment for him to view the graffiti etchings on their windows.

He realises that polishing graffiti away could disrupt the school so he endeavours to complete the work outside normal school hours.  If it means late nights or early mornings then that is what is required.