Keeping crime out of the parks has been a struggle for many communities. Crimes in the parks consists of graffiti, vandalism, drugs, illegal dumping, and gang violence. When crime in the park occurs, the attendees begin to draw away feeling the park is no longer safe. When violence and unruliness take over, the crime spreads to the neighborhood and continues to grow.
An unsafe park creates an unsafe community for families and businesses. Unfortunately, unsafe neighborhoods statistically cause lower property values, which causes even more harm to the community. Everybody knows how beneficial a safe park, easy to access and enjoy, is to the community.
In order to keep crime out of the park, the community must come together and fight off the crime that plagues the park. Back in the 80’s, “Take Back the Park” began. A solution to take back the control of the recreational space by providing youth leadership and activities that include crime prevention training. The impact of the program was encouraging. 15 parks participated where summer programs bloomed.
This is still important today. Tragically, Clairemont Community experienced a park shooting around noon while kids were playing. The community then hosted a Take Back the Park Event to bring change to the neighborhood. It needs to be noted that taking back a park is not easy and does not happen overnight. To see a change the program must continue, and the community must be involved.
Perpetrators visually need to see the community cares for the park. Here is a checklist at a minimum that must be implemented to change the atmosphere of the park from neglected to loved.
- Remove Graffiti
- Repair Vandalized Equipment and Structures
- Install Park Crime Deterrent Systems
- Increase the Lighting
- Provide Activities for the Whole Community
- Increase the Presence of Site Managers and Police
Remove all signs of neglect like graffiti and vandalism immediately, as this attracts more serious crimes. Make sure the activities are enticing to the whole community, because the presence of people discourages most possible crimes. Make sure your parks department is equipped with the right tools to fight park crime. Traditional cameras do not deter crime; therefore, Park Crime Deterrent Systems are needed.
Take back your park and keep the crime out!