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Parks are Essential to our Health

Parks are Essential to our Health

During this challenging pandemic, health is more important than ever. When the immune system is down, it becomes difficult to fight off viruses and infections. When your body is not as prime as it could be, mental health also suffers. Mental and physical health are directly related: mental health impacts physical health and vice versa.

Nature is imperative to our health. For example, we need vitamin D for both our physical and emotional health. Historically, the public park was created with mental health in mind. Parks encourage physical activity and people who live close to parks are more prone to use them for exercise. Without scenic recreational areas, people are more likely to suffer from obesity and depression. Beauty is necessary for the public health. 

We take nature and aesthetics for granted. We take advantage of pristine parks and do not think about the care and effort that is put into keeping it desirable to communities. We do not think about the communities that cannot afford to do what it takes to keep parks free of litter and vandalism. It takes work to keep parks aesthetically appealing and free from graffiti and vandalism. For example, security guards and  anti-vandalism cameras may be a necessary asset to your park for the safety and health of your city. Also, signs reminding the public that the park is meant for everyone. Harming parks harms the entire community. 

We need to keep our parks clean and safe for our health and restore our communities to their original glory.

#Parks4All, #ParksAndRecreation, #WeAreParkAndRec, #NoVandalism #ProtectParks

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.

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:

How to Stop Graffiti

How to Stop Graffiti

The crime of graffiti is an ever-growing problem in every major city in the United States. You can easily spot this public eye-sore lining the once blank walls of businesses, in our alley-ways, on trash cans, and even mailboxes. More often than not, the most common form of graffiti is placed in areas meant to designate a specific gang’s territory, acting both as a sort of physical marker and as a warning to other neighboring gangs to stay out. This type of graffiti is most often found in the more metropolitan areas, or areas of a city that’s been prey to urban decay.

Another common form of graffiti is that of a “street artist”. These so-called artist’s don’t have any gang affiliation and often spray-paint large murals depicting some sort of ethnic or urban scene in public areas or on private property. While many of these “street artists” can display some artistic credibility, their choice of canvas is just as illegal as those of gang graffiti artists.

Of the many problems that the crime of graffiti can cause, the cost and resources of graffiti abatement can quickly add up. In 2014, the city of Los Angeles, California paid $7 million to clean up roughly 32.4 million square feet of graffiti-adorned public areas. This money had to be culled from other budgets that may have benefitted other public programs run by the city. Once these instances of graffiti are removed, they quickly reappear moments later.

Because recurrences of graffiti happen so often, the problem is met best with a means of quick abatement and followed by measures designed to prevent its repetitive qualities. While the crime of graffiti happens most often at night and when the possibility of being seen is low, ideally-placed anti-graffiti cameras are an excellent substitute when civilian or security personnel oversight can’t be accomplished or afforded. In addition to these graffiti cameras, utilizing social media sites, such as Facebook, to help identify suspects and educate the public on the consequences of graffiti are steps in the right direction to help stifle the occurrence and recurrence of the crime of graffiti.