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What will the year 2017 bring in the form of nuisance crimes, such as vandalism and graffiti?

Nuisance Crimes in 2017

What will the year 2017 bring in the form of nuisance crimes, such as vandalism and graffiti?  Where do these small but costly infractions fit in with the budget?

Policing is an important safety measure that ensures quality life for the citizens of every city.  Without policing, there is chaos.  Unfortunately, there are those who intimidate the weak and the defenseless, and without our police, there is a “Lord of the Flies” mentality.  In a civilized nation, we have come to expect safety when walking to the grocery store, when taking the kids to the park to play, or when walking  the dog around the block.  If we do not have police and laws, the freedoms we now enjoy will only be free in theory.

After the horrendous November 27, 2016 shooting at Bourbon Street, police are increasing their presence in the French Quarter.  Besides extra staffing , cameras have also been placed in strategic places.  The city is making it known that extra measures are being put in place.

With the police having to deal with these bigger issues, how will the problem of graffiti and vandalism be handled?  Will there be enough police to patrol the secluded areas around the city to stop the blight that brings down the quality of life, through unsightly markings and broken windows?

According to the Center for Evidence-Base Crime Policy, there have been evaluations for the last 20 years that focus on crime and disorder in “hot spots”.  Accordingly, focusing on a hot spot can include many approaches for a solution.  With the police being tasked with larger issues, the department will have to be creative with the resources available to them.  The evidence  to reduce the nuisance crimes, such as graffiti, vandalism and loitering seems to be very convincing.  Ridding the city of defacement either in the form of illegal drawings or the destruction of property will help with the overall policing in the area and should be considered in the budget.

 

 

Halloween Decorations

Graffiti, Vandalism and Theft, OH MY!

Are you ready for the increase in nuisance crimes such as graffiti, vandalism and theft during America’s second major holiday? People in America are expected to spend about 8.4 billion dollars this year in 2016 to celebrate this Halloween. This is the highest expected spending in the history of Halloween.

Decorations of spiders, graves and bats are in full swing as the shorter and cooler days approach, but so is the mischief of vandalism, graffiti and theft.  What can you do to protect the valuable assets that your department has worked so hard at attaining?  Whether it is pavilions, park benches or bathrooms, your cities’ assets are at a higher risk during this scary time of Witches, Goblins and Darth Vaders.  How can you protect these valuable assets from nuisance crimes?

While searching the web, one can find many articles on how to protect your house or your car, but what about park equipment and athletic sheds located in the remote dark areas?  Even eggs and toilet paper can be costly to clean up, not to mention the damage caused to the equipment.  In addition, the department needs to be ready for the morning visitors who come to enjoy the facilities you provide.  This can cause a lot of stress.

A 2009 Popular Mechanic’s article, “Halloween Vandalism: How to Prevent it- And How to Clean it UP”, gives some pretty good tips but states keeping your property well-lit is the best preventative, because people do not want others to watch them as they commit their mischief. This can be difficult in a remote area. Also, it is costly to keep the lights on all night where electricity is available.

The FlashCAM systems make their presence known, and they require no hard wiring, making it easy to deploy.  This is a cost effective way to guard your valuable assets from graffiti, vandalism and theft.

Vandalism Camera-Crime Prevention Tool

Vandalism Camera-Crime Prevention Tool

Cleaning up crimes can only go on so long. Eventually, part of the cities’ crime enforcement operations need to lead to crime prevention methods. According to a report “Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising” by the NCJRS, Crime prevention needs to be implemented in three areas: community environments, families, and schools.

Because of the strictness of laws and constitutional rights in the US, city prevention in these three areas seem to have become more passive in nature. Cities create programs and ways to educate people to prevent crime in the future. These methods are good, but they do not have immediate effects in stopping crime.

On the scene, arrests and extra patrol officers seem to be effective in cases of high level crime that results in immediate effects. However, crimes of a less extreme nature, such as: property crimes, theft,  burglary, trespass, and criminal mischief, seem to go unnoticed. Police departments use curfews, street lighting, neighborhood watches, vandalism cameras, and remote surveillance systems in order to stop crimes of such nature. Are these methods effective?

According to California Bureau Research, California State Library, titled “Public Video Surveillance: Is It An Effective Crime Prevention Tool” By Marcus Nieto, there is not enough evidence. However, according to Tony Pearsall, the Executive Director of Fighting Back Partnership, “It’s preventative — it’s an obvious visible prevention that’s having more of an impact than I ever thought it would have.”  Therefore, due to the high amount of crime and low amount of human resources, tools like remote surveillance systems and vandalism cameras seem to be an alternate option that needs to be explored as an effective preventative method to stop crime.

No graffiti tonight

Stop School Graffiti

Over the Christmas weekend, a school in Bundaberg Australia experienced graffiti on their walls.  The vandals painted “tags and vulgar language” with flares on the side of the school building. Bundaberg‘s relieving officer-in-command, Glen Cameron, states, “Over the school holidays police actively increase their patrols in these areas in an attempt to prevent offences like this occurring.” Graffiti in schools does not just occur in a vacuum. If police increased their patrols, what are locals doing in stopping school graffiti?

“But assistance from members of the public goes a long way to preventing antisocial behavior in and around school grounds.”, says Cameron. The police can only do so much. They enforce the law and prevent nuisance crimes as much as their resources and tools allow them, but vandalism in schools is a social problem that communities need to address.  Preventing “antisocial behavior” could lead to preventing vandalism in schools.

The fact that “vulgar language” is being sprayed on school property asks two questions. Why is the language vulgar? And why does it happen on school grounds? Teenagers can be rebellious and sometimes antisocial toward society, but who sets their boundaries? They do, but initially boundaries  start at the home. Vulgar language is probably used by their friend groups and local communities. Once “vulgar language” is spoken, usually others copy.

The next question is why at a school? The school gives them homework, has rules, and has authority. Vandals probably don’t like authority, and the school becomes the perfect target. These antisocial crimes do not just occur without reason. Being anti-authoritative could be one of the causes. The Center for Police-Oriented Policing says graffiti sprayers are usually associated with other illegal activity. There is a culture that goes along with graffiti spraying, and usually, it is not positive.

The police of Bundaberg urge the community to contact the police if anyone sees suspicious activity around the schools. Why didn’t anyone contact them? Did no one see them? That could be true, but part of being a community is being aware of suspicious activity. Communities around the globe should be actively setting consistent boundaries and be aware of unusual local activity. Seeking ways to create a culture that stops school graffiti can be hard, but should be done, because it starts with “assistance” from the community.