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?