Village’s ‘safety fears’ amid rise in antisocial behaviour and graffiti

Graffiti around Belsize Village

Graffiti around Belsize Village - Credit: Marko Milovanovic

Belsize Village residents are worried about their safety after a spate of anti-social behaviour in the area, including a rise in graffiti.

Resident Marko Milovanovic noticed the tags across the area while walking from England’s Lane to the village on Sunday. He said: “They are obviously not a Banksy-type graffiti and they do make me feel less safe because someone is clearly able to vandalise other’s property over and over again without any consequences.”

The graffiti began to appear a month ago. They were initially covered up and resprayed by Camden Council.

Neighbours are unhappy and think more needs to be done to prevent the vandalism from happening in the first place.

Conservative councillor Maria Higson said: “Over the past few months, we have also been pressing the council for better security measures in Belsize Village, to act as a permanent deterrent for graffiti as well as other forms of anti-social behaviour.”

It’s been suggested that improved or extended CCTV coverage may deter vandals, and help catch those who are spraying the area. Pictures seen by the Ham&High show the same tag in several places, which makes residents think it is one person responsible.

Camden’s current tactics to deal with the issue hasn’t pleased some. Linda Grove, of Belsize Lane, said: “We’ve informed the council and as soon as they cover it up, the graffiti returns.”

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But Camden’s environment chief Cllr Adam Harrison defended the borough’s approach. He said: “CCTV can be used to identify graffiti writing taking place. However, it is not very effective in identifying the perpetrators for a court prosecution.

“Camden Council aim to remove reported graffiti within five working days or 24 hours if it is racist or offensive as they believe quick removal of graffiti generally deters graffiti writers and taggers from an area.”

Camden has advised building owners who suffer from graffiti to use anti-graffiti coatings.