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Park with trees

Show Your Parks Some Extra Love – Prevent Vandalism

It’s Parks and Rec month.  Let’s celebrate all the joy these parks bring to our communities!  We all know how much Parks and Recreation committees lo♥e what they do.  And we know how important it is to have a good image of our parks and recreational facilities.  A park image that is presentable to the community promotes opportunity and keeps its users happy. Keeping the parks and rec areas clean and safe from vandalism and trespassing, is a big part of that image.

Rules are another way to lo♥e our parks.  Having rules for parks and recreational centers creates a secure environment.  If parks and recreation agencies develop and adopt enforceable standards and guidelines for the land and facilities related to their use, there is less opportunity for mischief.   Although most parks have  certain set hours of when the park and rec center is open to the public, it can be hard to enforce. But monitoring and enforcing is another way to love your parks.  Give a presentable image by monitoring the vandalism and trespassing concern areas of the property and facilities and enforce when rules are broken.

Give your parks extra lo♥e this month by expanding a secure area for its users, by securing the area and deterring nuisances—such as trespassing after hours, vandalism, and gang activity.  Deterring vandalism helps the overall image of the parks by forming a clean, safe atmosphere.  Protect your parks and activity centers and prevent rules from being broken by installing a means of crime deterrent.  Set up a visible camera system to mandate that the rules are being followed, even while you aren’t watching.

Investigate, study and recommend these needed improvements this month to your city council to deter the vandalism and trespassing concerns. According to the study done by the National Recreation and Park Association, by creating safe park environments, you enhance community wellness.  When the community is happy, it makes the operations of the Parks Department more efficient and effective.  It will pay off because your community will end up lo♥ing your parks and rec centers just as much as you already do.  Now that’s something to celebrate!

Grave

Cemetery Vandalism

Coming to the cemetery to celebrate the life of a loved one is an emotional experience.  Imagine the impact of seeing the tombstone vandalized and defiled! The disturbance can cause trauma to the most stable of persons.

Cemeteries should be a place of peace and tranquility. Most people think of cemeteries as sacred land, a quiet place to re-visit memories of loved ones who are no longer physically with us. This should be protected ground where loved ones can be honored.  Unfortunately, not all people respect the sacred ground of those who lived.

There are reports of some people who have desecrated the grave sites by pushing down grave stones, causing them to break.  Some reports show graffiti markings.  According to a news article in the New York Post, cemetery vandalism increased by 306 percent from last year. This is a very sad problem.  This kind of vandalism hurts, which can cause emotional turmoil.

According to the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA), any cemetery can be a target of this deliberate act of vandalism.  The ICCFA says most of these acts of vandalism are caused by youths.  The Ecclesiastical lists cameras, posted signs, perimeter fencing, locked gates, well lit grounds, spot checks and reporting as possible deterrents. Whatever the tactic, it is important to protect the cemetery from hooligans and hate crime vandals.

School Vandalism

Prevent Vandalism in Schools

The importance of vandalism prevention should be the focus of schools rather than surveillance. Recently in an article titled “5 charged in connection with Porter Elementary break-in” by wbir.com, the cost of damage caused by five suspects is “over $60,000”.

According to Sheriff James Berrong, this is, “worst cases of vandalism that I have seen in my law enforcement career.” Vandalism in schools is a problem that most school districts around the country face.  This problem can be very costly and calls for the prevention of vandalism before the crime occurs.

Center for Problem-Oriented Policing estimates the average cost of vandalism in the US to be around $200 million in 1970 and climbed to $600 million in 1990. Most of the cases of vandalism are issues of small cases, unlike Potter Elementary’s situation. If schools are spending so much money on vandalism, what are schools doing to prevent such issues?

In the Tri-City Tribune, James Barfoot, assistant superintendent of operations for Farmington Schools, says vandalism in his school district is between $20,000 and $30,000 based upon his school’s annual estimation cost of damages. Before installing security cameras the estimation was $20,000 and $50,000. The school district is able to catch some people, and the amount of vandalism has dropped because of that.

However, when schools in Farmington are vandalized there is a required $25,000 deductible on the insurance plan. Barfoot stated even if the insurance company covers everything “taxpayers still have to cover” the vandalism in schools.

Unless the vandalism is reduced to a very small amount, tax payers are still paying for vandalism in schools. School districts around the country should be seeking new ways for overall prevention of vandalism in schools. Video surveillance systems only put a dent in the overall cost of vandalism. Being able to catch the vandals like in the case of Porter Elementary is good, but to save money for the tax payers, finding new ways to prevent vandalism before it happens will prove to be most effective in saving tax payers’ dollars.

Playground

Stop Park Vandalism

It is hard to believe that in this generation with all the education on protecting the environment and recycling that the graffiti problem and leaving trash at public parks even exists.  According to the Saint George News, Hurricane, jumping rocks located in Sand Hollow State Park, had to be closed for clean up due to accumulated trash and graffiti.  Sand Hollow State Park is a beautiful park with large rock and sandstone formations that are part of the Sand Hollow Reservoir.  The Sandstone formations are beautiful natural art pieces that sit on the water’s edge. The assistant park manager, Darren Tucker, indicated the area is being “marred by littering, graffiti, things being thrown into the water even.”   It is hard to believe this happened. Who would mar this beautiful area?

And yet,  today more and more of our National Parks are getting tagged and marred. If our society is to leave a better world for the next generation, we need to do more than clean up after the fact.  Cleaning the graffiti introduces chemicals to the area which affects the air quality and the water, due to run off.  The chemicals could also enter and contaminate the in-ground water.  As the left behind trash sits in the sun, chemicals are released.  Our society needs to do better.

As a society what can we do? The Los Angeles Police Department has listed several ways an individual can help their community. Several to note are education, clean up, reporting and protecting. As most offenders are young, the LAPD encourages the public to volunteer in areas that educate the young that vandalism, which includes graffiti and illegal trash dumping, is a crime.  Volunteering also encourages the young to use their time for valuable moments rather than doing something that is hurtful to the community.  It is important we make our parks a priority.  What are some ways you can help stop graffiti and vandalism in our parks?