Territory and Municipal Services workers have removed illegal graffiti from 19,845 locations across Canberra since January 1. The directorate has been allocated $520,000 for graffiti removal expenses this financial year.
These incidents of graffiti have occurred despite the existence of 26 legal graffiti practice sites across the ACT, which were launched to provide artists with an opportunity to develop their skills "without engaging in anti-social or criminal activity".
A Territory and Municipal Services spokesman said most illegal graffiti was found in "hot spots" such as the main arterial roads of Hindmarsh Drive, Athllon Drive, Melrose Drive, Drakeford Drive, Tharwa Drive and Kingsford Smith Drive.
The most targeted areas were Bunda Street in the City and Callam Street in Woden while most of the 404 incidents of graffiti reported to TAMS during 12 months came from Phillip, Calwell and Civic.
But despite responding to graffiti at nearly 20,000 locations in just nine months, the TAMS spokesman defended the role legal graffiti sites play in encouraging responsible street art in the ACT.
"The sites aim to drive people away from illegally placing graffiti on public and private assets and towards productive pursuits such as legal street art," he said.
"Legal graffiti sites aim to change the attitudes and behaviours of illegal graffitists through valuing their skills and encouraging self-improvement."
Earlier this year a 22-year-old Forrest man was arrested after motorists reported him spraying graffiti on the Acton tunnel over Parkes Way early on a Sunday morning.
In July street artist Travis Adam Bryant avoided jail after facing 19 charges in court related to a "bender" through Belconnen in which he sprayed private and government property
Bryant, 22, of Cowra, was instead ordered to serve 500 hours of community service.
The TAMS spokesman said any graffiti including racist, violent or sexist work at the legal graffiti venues was not tolerated.
"The sites are mostly located on the walls of toilet blocks and underpasses and are signposted as a legal site," he said.
"The area around legal sites must be kept clean and when full they are routinely painted out to provide a blank canvas for art."
Street artists are able to enquire about new locations for legal graffiti with the TAMS regularly reviewing practice locations.
Legal graffiti sites can be found in Calwell, Chifley, Curtin, Florey, Flynn, Giralang, Greenway, Hawker, Isabella Plains, Kaleen, Kambah, Latham/Macgregor, Lyneham, Melba, Narrabundah, Nicholls, Richardson, Torrens, Turner, Waramanga and Woden.