Crime-fighting dogs sniff out graffiti vandals

Published 11th November, 2015 in Family & Community Services

Dogs are helping to reduce graffiti vandalism across the Sydney Trains network by sniffing out spray cans and helping police arrest vandals.

A Springer Spaniel in front of a pile of graffiti cans.
Tommy, the Springer Spaniel is trained to sniff out graffiti cans.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the dogs were an integral part of blitzes that targeted hot spots for trains to be attacked by vandals, including stations, maintenance centres and stabling yards.

“Their involvement has led to two arrests for graffiti-related offences at Granville and Sydenham stations, and they’ve sniffed out more than 1200 graffiti cans," 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.”

Sydney Trains Chief Executive Howard Collins said the canines were part of an ongoing anti-vandalism strategy targeting graffiti across the 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.

“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.”

Earlier in the year, new Sydney Trains technology was unveiled which uses motion-activated cameras to catch anyone illegally trespassing on train tracks or breaking into fenced-off areas of the rail network. These cameras have already led to six arrests.

“We’re finding new technology to catch vandals in the act, rather than just cleaning up after them,” Mr Constance said.

To acknowledge the dogs’ crucial work, the Australian Defence Force Trackers and War Dogs Association recently awarded seven of the dogs with Canine Service Medals for their effectiveness in protecting Sydney Trains.

Published 11th November, 2015 in Family & Community Services