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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.

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?

Metal theft refers to incidents in which goods are stolen and stripped for their value of various types of metal.

Deterring Metal Theft with Behavior Modification

Metal theft refers to incidents in which goods are stolen and stripped for their value of various types of metal.  Metal recycling is lucrative, and thus, the motive behind metal theft.

 

Metal theft takes on numerous forms and there are several applications for which they are used, and the motives for each metal robbery differ depending on both value and risk factor.  Common targets include car lots for their catalytic converters, business centers for their air conditioning units, roofing material for its lead, bronze plaques from graveyards and monuments, and construction sites or stadiums for their copper wiring and cables.  Each metal target has its own marketplace value, as well as its own risk factor depending on its level of vulnerability and its surrounding security.

 

For the valuable metals that have the security risk-factor added to its theft prospect, there is evidence that a specific type of security that involves the intervention of catching the metal thief in the act, may serve as a type of behavioral modification by altering their thoughts toward changing their behavior.  This is due to the negative reinforcement or by the “warning” they’ve just encountered.  As humans, we are wired as such to alter our thinking and therefore change our behavior based on both positive and negative outcomes. Behavior modification is just that, a reversal of one’s decisions built on a known outcome.

 

There is a multitude of research in benefits surrounding behavior modification. Its therapeutic techniques first became popular in the 1970s, and it is used for countless behavioral breakthroughs today. One study presented children with ADHD in a behavior modification group turned out to have 50% less felony arrests later in life then the children who were not in behavior therapy. The reason it works is because its purpose is practical—the use of thought intervention begets a halt and modification in behavior.

 

Bringing us back to our theory on how the application of behavior modification in security may stop a metal thief from finalizing their treachery, a sudden interruption in metal thievery and the prospect of recycling stolen metal for cash suddenly becomes the prospect of jail time.  Most people, even thieves, do not like the possibility of a negative outcome.  A crime-deterrent camera system serves the use of crime intervention by warning the criminal that they are on camera and prosecution is around the corner.  This is the security technique of the future… using behavior modification as a deterrent for metal theft.

 

Vandalism at city owned and maintained parks occurs all too often

Vandalism Costs Parks

Vandalism at city owned and maintained parks occurs all too often. The various aftermath effects incurred from this type of crime delve deeper than what is on the surface. The effect that strikes the hardest is the cost of repair due to vandalism.

Playground equipment can cost as much as $150,000.

Without the proper funds to repair vandalized playground equipment, child safety comes into question and the area where the damage has occurred will have to be closed to the public. Vandalized maintenance equipment can cost thousands of dollars to repair and the park cannot be properly maintained. Due to the already tight budgets allocated to city parks, it can take weeks or months before a park can be reopened to be enjoyed by the public once again.

When vandalism befalls one of our national parks, the consequences can prove disastrous. Fragile ecosystems can be rendered unrepairable from illegal dumping or littering, causing lakes and streams to become polluted. Natural rock formations and caves adorned with much graffiti are beautiful no more. When these gorgeous areas are defaced, it costs everyone, as they are meant to be enjoyed by all. Money spent to repair a vandalized national park would be better spent to improve their natural beauty and a park patron’s experience.

It is important to try to prevent park assets from being vandalized. These assets often include playground equipment, trashcans, restroom facilities, tables and benches, and recreational structures. All these items can cost quite a bit to repair or replace.  Prevention, crime deterrent methods, are better than repair and replace. We must do what is in our power to keep our beautiful parks open for all to enjoy.