Director of the Downtown Reykjavík Association states harsher penalties should be imposed on graffiti in order to tackle the problem, RÚV reports.
Graffiti is not a new problem in Iceland. RÚV reported on the issue in June of last year and considered the situation bad. The national broadcaster reviewed the situation last Thursday and has concluded that while the state of some locations has improved since, others have worsened.
Jóhann Jónsson, director of the Downtown Reykjavík Association and owner of Ostabúðin shop and restaurant on Skólavörðustígur in the city center, believes the fight against graffiti is not going well enough. “I think it has slackened a lot. A few years ago, efforts were made in this and then people brought it down a lot but people haven’t been following up well enough. The reason may be that we don’t have penalties for these violations, this property damage. There has to be some punishment,” Jóhann stated.
Hjalti J. Guðmundsson, manager of operations for the City of Reykjavík says the fight against graffiti is going fairly well. He states that the city manages graffiti on city property but cannot attend to graffiti on private property, where most graffiti occurs.
A group of seven men were caught on camera spraying graffiti on Skólavörðustígur. The men in the group appeared to be in their 30s. Jóhann says that store owners in downtown Reykjavík spend significant money and time on graffiti removal. “We have to paint the walls regularly. And that is the only thing that works. But we should not have to stand for this,” he states.