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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?

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.

Deter Graffiti in the Community

Deter Graffiti in the Community

Graffiti vandalism can happen anywhere. The unsightly crime of graffiti can have serious negative effects on the community where the act takes place. When graffiti is not quickly abated, it often sends the message that “no one cares” about the community it has defaced. This type of “careless” attitude lends itself to the public’s perception of an unsafe environment, causing concern for public safety. When a community feels their environment is not safe, these negative emotions can lead to depression and anxiety, as well as further acts of crime and violence.

When residents of a community afflicted by graffiti perceive an increase of criminal activity, it can foster the assumption that crime is on the rise. This assumption contributes to feeling less secure and fearful, with the suggested result of community members avoiding street usage and less contact with one another. Less personal contact reduces community bonds and encourages individual isolation amongst members, resulting in the community being more vulnerable to crime.

Many individuals who report living in neighborhoods with vandalism and graffiti, retain high levels of mistrust, are suspicious of others, and have fear of being victimized. In this way, graffiti can have a negative impact on a community’s perception of safety and public amenity.

The financial costs associated with acts of graffiti are astonishing. Many municipalities throughout the United States employ a team of graffiti abatement personnel, with larger cities spending upward of tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to clean publicly defaced property. Private property owners who have experienced their property being vandalized by this criminal act are forced to cover the cost of graffiti abatement from their property. Failure to do so within a specified amount of time results in a mandatory, non-compliance fine. Residents of a community that have been victimized by graffiti sometimes harbor resentment toward local law enforcement and city officials for not acknowledging the residents as being the victim of the crime.

When the members of a community are so emotionally distressed by criminal acts such as graffiti, the lasting implications can be felt for years after the crime has taken place.  As a city official, take the initiative to deter crimes such as graffiti with a graffiti camera and help the citizens gain confidence in their community.

High Cost of Graffiti

High Cost of Graffiti

Most major metropolitan cities in the U.S. are constantly dealing with the problem of graffiti. The issue of graffiti could possibly promote a false perception that the laws protecting public and private property can be blatantly disregarded, resulting in an increase in crime, urban decay, and detriment to the enjoyment of life. These acts of graffiti, if not cleaned, repaired or deterred in a timely manner, can also give way to additional unwanted markings in the surrounding area.

 

Instances of graffiti are most often the result of various gangs posting the physical limits of their “turf”. These publicly displayed messages also serve as a type of warning to other rival gangs to stay out of their neighborhood.  These messages usually incur further graffiti from the would-be rivals. Other acts of graffiti are of the so-called underground “street art” scene, whose canvasses blanket public and private property with various designs or murals intended to be seen by the public. Both types of graffiti, however, involve the same level of criminal charges and consequences, despite their dissimilar intent.

 

Each year, cities are faced with this crime challenge, and it costs cities unspeakable amounts.  Take for instance the city of San Francisco, which spends more than $20 million to clean up graffiti found on public property. In 2017 alone, the San Francisco Public Works department responded to approximately 35,398 service requests involving instances of graffiti, and that number is expected to climb by the end of 2018.

 

Because the crime of graffiti is such a large problem, San Francisco city-council members recently passed an anti-graffiti ordinance requiring property owners to clean up graffiti on their property within thirty days. If this time frame isn’t met, those property owners face stiff fines for violating the statutes outlined in the ordinance, further adding to the overall cost incurred by graffiti abatement.

 

Graffiti costs cities and property owners high amounts of both dollars and resources, which could be used to help the community instead.