MORE than 500 shops in the centre of Palma have been targetted by graffiti vandals between January and March this year, according to sources from the local police.
This situation has caused outrage among the shopkeepers in the area and has led to a flood of complaints, some identifying the alleged culprits.
The graffiti writers usually strike during the night or at weekends, police sources said.
A spokesman from the Via Sindicato Shopkeepers Association (Acovis), which is a member of PIMECO (the Small and Medium Sized Businesses Association) and represents 65 establishments from the Via Sindicato, said that they have presented a joint complaint for wilful damage in various locations, including shops and the public highway.
According to the spokesman, the complaint was presented during a meeting with an Inspector from the judicial branch of the local police.
They gave the Inspector information about the buildings which had been defaced, and the alleged identity of some of the suspected culprits who, according to the traders, had signed their graffiti drawings.
The executive committee of Acovis explained that their members felt angry by the persistence of the graffiti attacks, the last ones being on April 14 and 15, and said that, at the moment, they had not been able to determine the value of the damage which had been done.
The graffiti was painted on the fronts of shops situated on the ground floor of blocks of flats, as well as on barriers, porches, canopies, shop windows and wooden and metal doors which, in some cases, had historical value.
Any large surface is considered a fair target, the traders claimed.
In addition to this, benches and other objects in the street were also damaged, according to Acovis, who went on to say that this gave a very bad impression to visitors to the city.
As for the profile of the graffiti authors who strike in the centre of Palma, Acovis said that they are groups of young people, in some cases minors, who usually use cans of spray paint or permanent markers, and who paint anything from their signatures to structured drawings in various colours.
Other streets in the city centre, such as Calle Olmos, have also suffered at the hands of the grafitti artists and complaints have been received from other parts of the island, such as Calvia.
Police sources say that it is difficult to take action unless the culprits are actually caught in the act.
Cleaning up the graffiti costs the city council considerable amounts of money every year.