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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?

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.