Edinburgh's graffiti hotspots revealed as nearly 1,000 incidents recorded last year

More than a third of graffiti was racist or offensive.
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The city centre, Southside and Morningside have been revealed as the areas of Edinburgh with the most graffiti.

City of Edinburgh Council recorded nearly 1,000 cases of graffiti last year alone and more than 5,000 since 2019. New figures obtained by the Evening News show more than a third of the graffiti etched across the city in the last five years was of an offensive or racist nature.

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Incidents spiked during the coronavirus pandemic with 974, 761 and 725 noted in 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively compared with 370 in 2019. Numbers dropped again last year with only 545 cases recorded.

Thousands of graffiti cases have been recorded in Edinburgh since 2019.Thousands of graffiti cases have been recorded in Edinburgh since 2019.
Thousands of graffiti cases have been recorded in Edinburgh since 2019.

However, 2023 saw an uptick in racist and offensive messages with 399 incidents compared with 374 the year before. In total, there were 5,191 graffiti cases in the last five years with 1,853 of them considered offensive.

The heart of town saw the most service requests made to the local authority with 1,369 over the entire period. It was followed by the Southside/Newington ward with 696 and Morningside with 519.

But a problem seems to be emerging in the Leith Walk area with 122 reports made in 2023, a number that has steadily risen from 2020 when there were just 40. Drum Brae/Gyle and Corstorphine/Murrayfield have been the least affected wards, with just 85 and 114 cases over the entire half-decade respectively.

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It is city council policy to remove graffiti from its property 'where possible', but the authority said it was unable to clarify the total cost of such operations. Owners are responsible for clean-up jobs when private property is vandalised.

In cases of racist or homophobic graffiti, street cleaning teams aim to remove the offending artwork within 24 hours. You can find out more or report graffiti here.