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Keep Vandalism Out of Parks

Keep Vandalism Out of Parks

Keep Vandalism Out of Parks

Play is essential for the good health of all children.  All communities need parks where play is an important part in the design of the park.  Communities need to provide a safe quality area for children to develop.   One assessment of the quality of a park is the “Playable Space Quality Assessment Tool” (PSQAT).  The PSQAT evaluates three aspects of a park, Location, Play Value and Care and Maintenance.

The location involves using the natural aspects of the area to be accessible to the entire community needs.  The Play Value must have a variety of options for children to explore and imagine.  The Care and Maintenance is not only the visual care of the park, which is important, but also the safety of the park.

Even though most parks are closed to the public during the COVID-19, graffiti and vandalism is occurring at the parks.  The cherished parks, where a budget of tears and sweat were used to create, are being manhandled and misused.  When the stay at home orders are lifted the parks need to be ready.  Rather than clean up after the vandalism has occurred – tools, like vandalism cameras, are available to maintain the dignity and safety of the park and stop criminal behavior before it begins. Most likely the unwanted behavior is executed by young teens frustrated with the restrictions placed upon them. But it could also be gang activity.  Any suggestion of gang activity will make the park unsafe for the community.  This is a challenging time for parks and recreation- make sure your department has the right tools.

#ParksandRec  #novandalism

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:

Protecting Park Equipment from Vandalism

Protecting Park Equipment from Vandalism

As the local Director or Manager of the community park, you know on any given afternoon the park is full of activity. Dogs catching Frisbees, couples strolling, and large picnic parties are all common activities taking place in the park. No park area is busier than that of the playground area.

The reasons for the bustle of activity on the playground are important ones; important for both the community in which the park resides, as well as the individual children themselves. The emotional and social benefits of the playground relieve children of anxiety and stress and encourage learning amongst each other. The use of playground equipment allows children to partake in unrestricted recreation known as “free play”. This “free play” offers an ideal opportunity for children to develop learning abilities and bond socially with one another. Physical activity at the playground also promotes a child’s general wellness and health.

Public playground equipment is anything but inexpensive, averaging a cost of anywhere between $8,000 to $150,000, depending on the quality of the equipment. The safety of high-quality playground equipment also plays a large roll when it comes to its price. 

Given its important roll to childhood development, playground equipment benefits our communities for generations to come, and thus, this investment must be protected. Damage sustained from things like vandalism or misuse can easily render playground equipment unusable and leave no creative outlet for a child’s energy and imagination to play freely. Vandalized equipment compromises the safety of children and has the ability to harm them both physically and emotionally. It’s incredibly disheartening for a child’s feeling of excitement to play, quickly turn to disappointment and malaise at learning that their local playground has been closed due to vandalism. 

Fortunately, there is a tool the helps protect the valuable equipment you have installed.  Portable cameras that can be customized for the park’s needs and strategically placed are very effective at stopping vandalism before it happens, therefore protecting the playground and preventing unnecessary closures due to repairs. 

Prevent Park Vandalism

Prevent Park Vandalism

There are many diverse park programs and activities available to a community’s children, as well as adults. These programs are important to the community as they are necessary to help children develop proper social bonds and cues, and to curb childhood obesity through various physical activities. Park programs also have the ability to help young adults steer clear of criminal activity by providing a means to distract from what would otherwise be idle time.

When a park suffers an act of vandalism, the resulting consequences can prove to be very unproductive in regards to park programs and patrons. A vandalized park can lead to the perception that it is an unsafe environment for patrons of the park. Graffiti vandalism is often a key indicator that criminal activity exists in the park in which it occurs, causing concern for parents who have enrolled their children in a program.

When park equipment used in activities is vandalized, replacement equipment or repairs can total in the tens of thousands. Damaged equipment also raises safety concerns for those who use it, costing the park program participants and leaving little in the way of a budget to pay for repairs.

Implementation and program scheduling can be a tedious task for program directors and activity administers. A lack of enrollment in various activities held at a park that has been recently vandalized can easily stifle, as well as stop altogether, the program in which many children and young adults would benefit from. This lack of enrollment is often traced directly to the perception that the park is an unsafe environment for children and young adults to patronize.

If measures are taken to ensure the safety of a parks environment by preventing crimes such as vandalism, there is a less likelihood of these types of crimes being committed. Preventing criminal activity safeguards and fortifies our parks beneficial programs for those who need them most.