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Cost of train graffiti and vandalism on the rise, operators say

The Local · 8 Jul 2011, 08:57

Published: 08 Jul 2011 08:57 GMT+02:00

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Daily Mitteldeutsche Zeitung reported that graffiti, slashed seats, smashed windows on bus shelters and damaged ticket machines were costing Deutsche Bahn and other rail operators – and ultimately commuters – more each year.

“Each year we have to spend more and more on the removal of graffiti and other vandalism damage,” Georg Stephan Wigger, head of the regional rail carrier DB Regio Südost, told the paper.

The latest popular technique is to use felt pens in combination with sharp nails to make graffiti tags on train walls and windows, the result being that the ink penetrates so deeply it cannot be washed off.

“Then all you can do is replace the cladding,” Wigger said.

The Local/djw

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:26 July 8, 2011 by Ludinwolf
If ONLY graffit was the problem... how about the endless problems with stolen cables that makes commuters life hell and DB seems to not know what to do... all about saving and let the people struggle to nearly their limits before an action is taken. BIG corporations love people... not! love their money.
11:30 July 8, 2011 by Joe Wutbürger
One assumes that the fancy paint jobs are done when the train is parked up somewhere. Are these parking areas unsupervised then?

If seats and windows etc are vandalised are the culprits not seen on the CCTV in the buses and carriages? or are the cameras merely dummies to create the illusion that security was a serious issue?

All train stations have cameras so why don't they hinder violence and vandalism?

Surely some of that 50 mil would be saved by investing in higher security standards?

I suspect that takes too much effort to control it - much easier to simply raise the fares!
12:54 July 8, 2011 by Dayzee
I know this sounds like a crazy idea, but what about hiring professional graffiti artists to give the DB cars a new look? That way they are already "sprayed" and there wouldn't be the need for spending money removing it.

I have read that various cities in many countries do this to help prevent random uncreative sprayings on buildings. It looks nice in the end and is very creative and everyone is happy in the end; the artist who gets to show off his work all throughout Germany and the DB to save money on yearly removal of "bad" graffiti.
13:22 July 8, 2011 by Traveler33
I travel all over Europe and the one thing I love about Germany is how clen it is and how the trains are kept up and don't look like crap like they do in Italy.

If the problem with graffiti, then put better security in place and actually arrest the people who are caught doing this. Fine them or put them in jail for 90 days but make them pay. If not, then people can just expect the ticket prices to continue to go up. But I'd rather pay a higher train fair than have German trains and stations look anything like they do in Italy, that is a disgrace and discusting.
13:56 July 8, 2011 by epfennell1971
Supervision seems to be one solution. Of the 50 million EUR they spend on clean up it seems they could use 2 or 3 million of that to hire personal and equipment to properly monitor areas easily vandalized.

As an American, I've often wondered why graffiti is such a big issue in Germany. Of course we have it in the States too, but here it seems to have it's own culture where as in the States it's more about social deviance.

Of course in Berlin, graffiti artists had quite a large palette for many years (the Wall). Yes, much of it bothers to look at, but on the whole experience of living here, it's not so important to me.
15:06 July 8, 2011 by HistoryProffessor
Someone get the Polizei or their butt...those guys dont do crap. Worthless.
15:11 July 8, 2011 by dbert4
How about taking an idea from Singapore, the canning of vandels would bring about change.
16:17 July 8, 2011 by finanzdoktor
How about a combination of all the ideas presented:

1. Fine and arrest the culprits

2. During their imprisonment, have them clean the train cars they or others defaced.

3. Increasing fines, imprisonment time, and the number of cars cleaned for each successive arrest.

4. Encourage the idea the Dayzee mentioned, but only for those who are willing and have not been arrested in the past for defacing private and/or public property.
17:54 July 8, 2011 by neunElf
It is a blight on the landscape!

The arrogance for some to impose their "art" onto the property of others, without any effective response from civic authorities, is the first step in the breakdown of civil society!

New York had this problem back in the 90's and Mayor Giuliani adopted a zero tolerance policy and cleaned it up! The minute a train carriage was defaced by graffiti punks, it would immediately be taken out of service. Soon the problem went away!

It seems to be a much bigger problem in Berlin than in Munich. I wonder why?
22:13 July 8, 2011 by wood artist
As a frequent visitor to Germany, I've often wondered how "artists" have the time to create their work without being apprehended. I've seen pieces that must have taken hours to create. Surely somebody must see them in action. Is it simply not a priority, or selective blindness?

00:14 July 9, 2011 by ovalle3.14
You can't possibly patrol every single wagon in the country at all times.
04:48 July 9, 2011 by catjones
ovalle3.14...that's the answer: give up.

Some cities collect taxes to pay for police (effective police). Berlin considers low-level crime not worth the effort to resist and so it persists. Other cities of the world have somehow figured out a solution.
08:33 July 9, 2011 by harcourt
I've noticed that graffiti seems to be a disease of an affluent society. There appears to be very little graffiti in third world countries. Firstly people can't afford the spray cans, secondly they have very little spare time ( too busy working in order to feed themseves and their families) and perhaps they have a bit more respect for public property which is in short supply.
08:43 July 9, 2011 by hOU
The is only one punishment befitting the crime:

DEATH (live on TV to the sound of childrens' laughter).

Muahhaha hahaha hahaha hahaahahah ha ahahaha hahahaha

hahahaha hahahaa muahaha mama mahahahmumu hahahah

*strokes persian cat*
18:04 July 24, 2012 by yahma
The problem is that the young boys/men who vandalize the trains each weekend are losers. They have no job, and most have no girlfriend. Nor can they get a job or girlfriend, so they have nothing better to do than vandalize everything in site. They think it makes them cool, but they are too stupid to realize that 99.9% of the population think they are idiots who belong in jail.

So, we need to catch these vandals. Also, fining building owners who do not clean up graffiti on their buildings within 30 days would help with the blight.
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