A phone app that could help cut the $600,000 clean-up bill faced by ACT taxpayers to remove graffiti each year is on trial to help police catch vandals.
Chief executive of CBD Limited Jane Easthope said Vandal Trak was free to download (for iOS via the App Store and Android through the Google Play store) and allows Canberrans to send in photos of graffiti with GPS co-ordinates for analysis.
She said there was a haphazard approach to cleaning and reporting graffiti in the ACT.
''ACT government for government land, private property owners and then you get get TransACT and other service providers who all have a different contract for the removal of graffiti from their assets. What we want is some consistency,'' Ms Easthope said.
Canberrans will be able to assist by downloading the free app, taking a photo on their smartphones and uploading it.
''Vandal Trak actually does an analysis for trends and similarities so they can ascertain if it's a repeat offender and GPS tracks it.''
The trial will last up to six months and CBD Limited will pay the developers of the app to complete reports.
''The reports are on a cost-retrieval basis, but I'm not sure of the final cost at this stage.''
In September the program was used as part of a NSW central coast police operation that led to two men pleading guilty to 76 counts of tagging including one 400-kilometre round-trip to Kiama where they and two other unidentified vandals bombed an eight-car train and nearby overpass with a series of murals, some covering the entire sides of carriages.
ACT Policing caught 18 people for graffiti offences in 2013, up from six the previous year.
Ms Easthope said new graffiti appeared in Canberra on a nightly basis.
''We hope it will save all stakeholders time and money and will enable us to be more effective in reporting to the Australian Federal Police. Graffiti is vandalism, it is uninvited defacing of people's property. There is good graffiti and graffiti art and we support that but when it's done illegally it's a problem.''