Swieqi has been hit by a wave of graffiti vandalism in recent weeks, with the perpetrators targeting boundary walls, street furniture and traffic signs.
Though it is not known whether this was the work of a gang or an individual, most of the motifs sprayed bear the same ‘signature’, which was either ‘naz’ or ‘ade’.
A concerned resident who sent a series of photos of the graffiti to Times of Malta called on the authorities to step up enforcement and to remove the drawings immediately.
“The worst thing that could happen is for the authorities not to take these cases seriously and allow them to become a permanent fixture because they would give a very bad impression of our locality and allow the situation to degenerate,” he said.
The resident, who preferred to remain anonymous, was also worried that this form of vandalism seemed to be spreading to other areas of the country.
The Regional Road tunnel, the Coast Road and even parts of Golden Bay were recently targeted, the resident noted.
The worst thing that could happen is for the authorities not to take these cases seriously
Swieqi mayor Noel Muscat confirmed that Swieqi was recently targeted by graffiti vandals. He said the local council had filed a police report and requested more frequent patrols. Council-owned properties, including street planters, had already been scrubbed clean, he said.
Mr Muscat expressed frustration that a network of 22 street cameras installed about 18 months ago as part of a pilot project by the Malta Tourism Authority were not being used to their full potential.
“All footage is being recorded on a server at the council’s offices but we have no resources for real-time monitoring nor the authorisation to download footage due to data protection issues,” he said.
Moreover, most of the offences happened late at night and over the weekends when the council’s offices were not manned, he added.
“Whenever a crime is reported, the victim must first file a police report and it is then up to the latter to send us a request for the footage,” Mr Muscat said.
Apart from being time consuming to download due to the council’s limited resources, the mayor said it could well be the case that if the perpetrators were foreigners, they could have left the island by the time the evidence was in hand.
For this reason, the Swieqi council has been calling on the police to take over the street camera system to make best use of it and deter crime.
“While we have no objection to host the server, it would make much more sense if these are manned directly by the police or by any other competent authority,” Mr Muscat said.
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