How to Enforce Social Distancing in Public Spaces

How to Enforce Social Distancing in Public Spaces

Enforcing social distancing has become a fierce challenge for cities of all sizes and cultures.  Most people who are being defiant are well behaved citizens, under normal circumstances.

Most park officials and enforcement officers do not want to be tasked with the unpleasant duty of removing citizens from public places, especially if it involves legal enforcement. 

The solution is deterrence. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a deterrent is “serving to discourage, prevent or inhibit”

But how does one deter the community from enjoying a park they have come to love and enjoy?  A park your department has worked so hard to create for the public to enjoy. There is a tool that can help with this distasteful responsibility.

Traditional surveillance systems do not have the immediate presence needed in these unique times.  The best tool must have a presence that distracts the groups from their activity and redirects their thoughts to do what they know is responsible. Public Nuisance Cameras that are used for deterring vandalism and graffiti are designed to modify behavior. Their feature of deterrence is the main value. 

It is the deterrence that is needed to enforce social distancing.

Graffiti and Vandalism Cause Fear Among the Community

Graffiti and Vandalism Cause Fear Among the Community

Within a neighborhood, people expect to feel safe. Going to the store or the park with the family should not be a time of worry and feeling unsafe and vulnerable. Unfortunately, communities have the problem of graffiti and vandalism which causes citizens to fear their very own community.

There are many reasons why people might fear their community. One of the major reasons citizens are starting to fear their community is due to the increasing numbers of graffiti and vandalism crimes. These types of crimes are on the rise and they are causing fear that worse crimes are lurking in the shadows. When cities are covered with graffiti and other kinds of vandalism it gives the citizens a feeling of neglect, and that the crimes in the city are not being monitored and laws are not being enforced. According to statistics, “vandalism and other signs of physical deterioration are often taken as signs of other social problems, which in turn leads to fear within the society”. If these nuisance crimes aren’t taken care of, then people will continue to live in fear and not able to enjoy the parks and other community features the city has worked so hard to provide.

How can these crimes be limited?

  • Community participation:

When someone sees an act of graffiti or vandalism occurring, they should report it.  This is called Community Policing, which is very effective in helping the police force or park rangers curb nuisance crimes.

Crime Deterrent Cameras, which are different from traditional surveillance cameras, are essential tools to stop vandalism and graffiti before it happens.

Disease and Illegal Dumping

Disease and Illegal Dumping

When illegal dumping occurs, it is usually done in a careless way; people discard unwanted items anywhere they please. Dumping tires can be extremely dangerous to the city and the citizens within. One of the most harmful consequences of dumping tires is when tires are left on an illegal dump site and it rains, they collect water. This presents a very dangerous problem: mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes can carry some of the deadliest diseases such as: Dengue Fever, West Nile Virus, and Zika Virus. When mosquitoes choose a place to lay their larva, they choose places that are wet, shaded, and can provide insulation to help hatch the larva. Unfortunately, illegally dumped tires fit all these qualifications.

Tires need a proper disposal site, one where they are legally regulated and hopefully recycled. Marcia Anderson from The EPA Blog tells of different ways to dispose of tires (shredding, making holes to prevent collection of water, etc.) to help protect the community from all the deadly diseases that mosquitos carry.

 People who illegally dump their tires may not know how serious of a problem they are creating when they discard their tires wherever they please. In order to protect cities, there needs to be precautions taken to help stop the acts of illegal dumping before they happen.

  • Educate:

Inform and involve the community. Communities should be involved in maintaining a healthy way of life for the citizens. If citizens are properly informed of the consequences that are involved with illegally dumping tires and taught the proper disposal of tires and how this helps their community, they are more apt to comply with the local laws.

  • Protect:

Illegal Dumping Cameras are needed to help identify and prosecute those who illegally dump their tires and place the community in danger. The presence of cameras also deters further dumping. Cameras that deter crimes before they happen is the number one way to eliminate the problem of mosquito infested tires.

Park Vandalism Hurts

Park Vandalism Hurts

Park Vandalism Hurts

Did you know one of the first parks built on public lands for public use was between 61 and 55 BCE? The Porticus Pompeiana, one of Ancient Rome’s first public parks was created with pools, fountains and plants of all kinds and was intended to be a space for people to walk, relax and enjoy leisure activities.  Today our public parks are created with the same mindset and to help bring communities and families together. Unfortunately, parks have become the victims of nuisance crimes such as: illegal dumping, theft, and especially vandalism.

Vandalism in the parks can take on many forms such as graffiti and the destruction of public property.  The least costly wreckage is the destruction of signs, but some more costly targets are streetlights, pavilions and public bathrooms, which can be very costly to repair.  Unfortunately, parks are a public attraction for vandalism.

Park Vandals are at times younger people who are bored and looking for mischief.  However, when vandalism occurs in parks, it is highly related to gangs within the community who are responsible for this crime. Gangs use graffiti to tag “their property” and to make rival gangs and the community aware of their “ownership”.  Park Officials who spend many hours in the planning and care for their parks need to take back the parks, because if the destruction either in the form of graffiti or vandalism remains long, it empowers the gangs to further violence.  The community, the intended recipients of the park, then becomes fearful to even walk close to the park.    

What does it mean to take back the park? To take back the park means to show the gangs that the park is not theirs, it is owned by the community.   

How to Prevent Park Vandalism: