I am a resident of Cyprus and a concerned citizen regarding a growing issue that is undermining the beauty and renovation of Paralimni. Over the past few years, a group calling themselves ‘Maxhtec 94’ or ‘M94’ has been involved in acts of vandalism and graffiti that have had a devastating impact on the entire community. We are all witnesses of what is happening, but now it’s going too far!

It is disheartening to witness how the vandalism by this group has caused significant damage to our surroundings. From graffiti on trees, billboards, the brand-new boardwalk in Protaras up to Kalamies, even to the walls of private houses, these markings not only tarnish the aesthetics but also the very essence of our community. This destructive activity jeopardises our cultural and tourist heritage, which has been a focal point of dedication and investment to make it an attractive destination for visitors.

The effect of this vandalism can be aptly described using the theory of broken windows. Each indelible tag that appears on public surfaces sends a negative message to the community and tourists alike. It conveys that the environment is uncared for, safety is neglected, and disrespect is tolerated. Such a negative outlook can contribute to a further increase in vandalism and criminal behaviour, eroding the sense of community and pride in our area.

This vandalism is not just an aesthetic issue; it also carries significant economic implications. Tourists frequently complain about the proliferation of graffiti and the lack of care for public property on social media. Such testimonials can deter potential visitors from our area, leading to a substantial loss of revenue in the tourism sector. Considering tourism is one of the primary sources of income for our community, it is crucial to protect its reputation and appeal.

If a group of robbers were stealing tens of thousands of euros from shops, law enforcement would swiftly act to apprehend the culprits and restore public order. The same urgency should apply to address this group of vandals causing both direct and indirect damages amounting to thousands of euros every day. I urge a greater commitment from the authorities in identifying and apprehending those responsible for these acts of vandalism.

As a resident of Cyprus, I have been privileged to witness the beautiful efforts of rejuvenation throughout the area, from Paralimni to Pernera, from Protaras to Ayia Napa. I firmly believe that with a joint effort from the community, law enforcement, and local authorities, we can protect and preserve our cultural and tourist heritage, securing a prosperous future for all of us, as well as to defend all the good that has been done (and a lot of money spent).

We should consider implementing concrete measures to combat this issue, including increased police presence, public awareness campaigns and community engagement activities. Only together can we tackle vandalism and safeguard the future of our beloved area.

Name and address withheld