Keeping Parks Safe from Vandalism

Keeping Parks Safe from Vandalism

Childhood obesity is an issue many parents are currently facing in the United States. The answers many parents are considering include a multitude of after-school programs geared toward helping children stay fit and active. Sports, such as baseball or soccer, often take place in local community parks and/or recreation centers. Because the park hosts many different exercise programs, a vandalized park can easily leave children, as well as parents, with the feeling that their environment is unsafe.

Instances of graffiti vandalism at a community park can often incite further gang-related crime, and more recurrences of graffiti, if not quickly abated. The appearance of this type of negative, criminal element can easily scare a child and parent alike, naturally leaving parents with the notion that the park environment is unsafe for their child’s activity to take place.

The unsafe environment that a vandalized park alludes to leaves children with the inability to enjoy their recreation or activity of choice, causing a void that physical activity would normally displace. This type of inactivity only furthers the problem of childhood obesity and can easily lead to depression or other psychological malaise after a child’s beloved neighborhood park has been closed due to vandalism. Many parents are also circumspect about having their children play in the unsafe environment of a recently vandalized park.

Because safe parks are an integral component to helping curb childhood obesity, it is important to do our best to manage a means of prevention, keeping our parks free from things like graffiti and vandalism; allowing children to dutifully engage in safe and active recreation.  The National Recreation and Park Association, (NRPA) lists out guidelines on evaluating the park’s safety and the implementation of factors to create a safe park.  Some crucial conditions were, good maintenance, good lighting, enforced rules, and surveillance

What is your Parks Department doing to keep your park safe from Vandalism?

The Cost of Nuisance Crimes

The Cost of Nuisance Crimes

Public nuisance crimes include many of the most commonly committed crimes in the U.S. They include criminal wrongs such as graffiti, vandalism, vagrancy, and illegal dumping. Because these are crimes committed against the public at large, it is most often the city that incurs the cost associated with these illegal acts. Besides cleaning and repairing property affected by nuisance crimes, there are other costs associated with these nuisance crimes such as policing and prosecuting individuals.

Vandalism of public property is a crime which can incur huge economic losses. These losses most often include the cost of repair and can total thousands of dollars. A decline in property value can result when these types of crimes are committed more often in a given community. Already strained city budgets and resources are exhausted to repair or deter more of these crimes from happening.

Vagrancy can lead to other public nuisance crimes including illegal dumping. These large-scale encampments can often be found in or on city-owned property with heaps of undisposed trash lying around. Cleaning up these trash sites can take days or months to effectively clear the area. And with limited resources, cities are forced to take money from other budgets to cover the cost of the clean-up.

So What Is Being Done?

Prior to now, most urban neighborhoods have treated public nuisance crimes as simple code violations. A small fine would be the consequence of violating one of these codes. More recently, many cities have begun prosecuting these violations as criminal misconduct and imposing harsher fines and fees in an effort to try to curb these acts from being committed. Cities using Crime Deterrent Cameras are seeing great results in deterring and find them to be very effective when strategically placed.

What is your city doing to prevent nuisance crimes and the costs associated with these crimes in your community?

Illegal Dumping Pollutes Water Supplies

Illegal Dumping Pollutes Water Supplies

The excessive amount of environmental and health risks that illegal dump sites pose on both humans and animals is staggering. Fragile ecosystems and protected wildlife habitats can be easily destroyed by pollution caused by incidences of illegal dumping. Burning of solid waste at dump sites and harmful toxins dumped unlawfully eventually find their way into surface and groundwater, contaminating drinking water supplies with numerous, and very dangerous, pathogens.

In late 2018, Lake Mead near Las Vegas, Nevada experienced massive water contamination caused by multiple illegal dump sites. These dump sites contained many dangerous waste products such as paint, chemicals, and paint, and prescription medications. After a particularly wet rainy season, toxins contained in the dump sites quickly sped their way into Lake Mead. As a water supply for 2.2 million Nevada residents, the state knew it was imperative to repair the damage from the contaminated lake; the cost of which resulted in millions in taxpayer dollars.

In February of 2019, a man from the San Francisco Bay area, James Philip Lucero, was sentenced to 30 months in prison after discharging unpermitted pollutants into wetlands and waters of the United States, violating the Federal Clean Water Act. Without the legally-approved permits, Lucero charged a fee to building contractors and trucking businesses in exchange for providing open space to dump fill material and construction debris. Lucero’s illegal dumping caused water contamination to nearby federally protected wetlands, resulting in damage to fragile habitats and ecosystems in the southern area of the San Francisco Bay.

An often overlooked consequence of the act of illegal dumping is the damage it incurs. Water contamination and pollution, environmental threats, and the risk to human health likely never cross the minds of those who perpetuate the crime of illegal dumping. Informing the public and proper deterrence of the act of illegal dumping is of the utmost importance to ensuring the safety of the world’s future.

Behavior Modification Stops Graffiti

Behavior Modification Stops Graffiti

Graffiti is a problem affecting many cities throughout the world. The defacement of both public and private property due to instances of graffiti, is one of the most common forms of vandalism. In most cases, graffiti is a means by which a gang displays their operating area, most often as a warning to rival gang’s to stay out. This type of gang-graffiti causes further recurrences of the crime as it invites rival gangs to display their warnings over the previous criminal’s display.

Complete abatement of gang-related graffiti is hard to accomplish as the tenacious character of gang-member attitudes are difficult to suppress. It is here that exists a never-ending cycle of repetitive graffiti cleanup, only to see the newly cleaned area fall victim to further instances of graffiti. Despite many regions in the U.S. enacting new legislation to help deal with the crime of graffiti, stiffer fines and harsher punishments have done little in the way of preventing this vandalism from occurring.

Another popular form of graffiti falls under the misdirected perception of “street” or “urban” art. While many of these artists can show varying degrees of talent, their acts are still a crime when committed without property owners’ permission.

Apart from gang-related graffiti and “street artist” graffiti, defacing property is also a crime of vandalism. Writing one’s name or drawing on a restroom stall is considered graffiti. The type of behavior that leads to this criminal act is often said to be due to boredom or an acting-out because of anger, contributing to delinquency. Behavior modification systems, such as after-school programs or regular therapy, can often show a reduction in instances of delinquent behavior.

The sudden interruption of an individual committing the crime of graffiti can lead to a transition in attitude when the individual is allowed to reflect on the consequences of their negative behavior. The graffiti camera employs on-board technology that stops the crime from being committed. The interruption of those committing the crime of graffiti, due to the graffiti camera, modifies the behavior of the individual previously engaged in the act. It is time to re-think how you are stopping graffiti.