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Social Media: Weapon to Combat Vandalism

Social Media: Weapon to Combat Vandalism

How can Social Media help combat Vandalism?  This is a good question. According to Wikipedia, Social Media is defined as “interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas…”

Unfortunately, the crime of vandalism is an all too common occurrence. It seems to happen everywhere including our schools, public parks, and in our own communities. When vandalism is committed, it is most often done late at night when there is less likelihood that the suspect, or suspects, will be seen or caught. Because little, if any, evidence is left behind, suspect leads are rarely ever followed up and communities are left holding the bill for the damages caused by vandalism.

Vandalism is a crime that’s cumulative. If an area that has been hit by vandalism is not quickly repaired or cleaned, further recurrences of vandalism are more likely to befall the same area. The only means of stopping vandalism completely, is by preventing its occurrence in the first place.

Today, many municipalities are turning to technology and the use of social media sites, such as Next-Door and Facebook, to educate the rest of the public when acts of vandalism occur. Pictures of recently vandalized neighborhoods are posted on social media sites in an effort to gather information from the public. Local law enforcement authorities use these photos as well as the information provided by the public as evidence, while vigilantly seeking out and successfully prosecuting those individuals suspected of committing acts of vandalism.

Photos of suspects taken by specialized vandalism cameras are used in conjunction with social media to identify suspects and to capture footage of the act to be used as evidence in prosecution cases brought before the court. This use of technology also fills the gap as a preventative measure when the public is informed by social media sites that vandalism cameras are being used.

This coordination of technology and social media is quickly becoming the first line of defense in combating vandalism, as it helps protect our communities as well as our individual well-being.

Social Media is effective because information of the vandalism occurrence and the pictures of the suspect are shared with the community very quickly.  Because the citizens care about their community, information is then shared quickly with the authorities who follow through with prosecution.

Social Media in use with specialized vandalism cameras is a great weapon to combat vandalism in your community.

How to Deter Vandalism in Park Restrooms

How to Deter Vandalism in Park Restrooms

Vandalism in Park Restrooms is a prevalent problem. Unfortunately, public restrooms are often the focus of many vandals, who are intent on committing defacement.  Restrooms become the target because they are usually placed away from public traffic and isolated.  Due largely in part to the low risk of being caught, graffiti on the walls and damage to toilets and the restroom facility hardware are among the objects most commonly affected.

 

Due to safety reasons, many parks close vandalized restrooms in order to avoid injury and facilitate repairs. Park Rangers know closed restrooms can cause a feeling of frustration by park patrons who may need to use the restroom area. The best option is deterrence.  Stop the Vandalism before it happens.

 

Here are some deterrent highlights to implement:

 

  1. Lighting– Secure the area with bright lights. Bright lights are a vandal’s worst enemy. Lighting installed in areas that may otherwise be dark does well to help prevent acts of vandalism from occurring.
  2. Unbreakable Fixtures and Hardware– Apply security glass over light fixtures and hard to break accessories in the restroom.
  3. Locks and Fencing- Install locks and fencing. Well strategized locks and fencing eliminates a vandal’s ability to enter the restroom after the park has closed.
  4. Vandalism Deterrent Cameras– Properly placed Vandalism Deterrent Cameras near problem areas combined with signs informing the public of their use has been proven to prevent acts of vandalism. Vandalism Deterrent Cameras- Talk, shine a bright light, take pictures for prosecution and make their presence known. Behavior modification at its best.

 

Applying these steps will protect public bathrooms and save frustrations and funds from ongoing repairs.

 

 

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.

City Park

Protect the Parks

If your career is in Parks and Recreation, then you are most likely familiar with the NRPA Americans’ Engagement with Parks Survey which was released earlier this year.  The highlights suggest people enjoy the parks and want other people to enjoy the parks as well.  Having a park in the community is important to 9 out of 10 people.

 

The 2016 October NRPA article, Public Park Usage: Motives and Challenges, lists highlights worth noting.  Most of the key points focus on how often people visit the park and why.  Looking at the graph,  58% of the park users came to be with friends and family, and 52% visited to engage in some type of physical activity.  This may come as a surprise, but 3/4 of the people surveyed want more money spent on parks and recreation. Clearly, parks are important to people.  Parks increase the enjoyment of life and maybe even possibly the quality of life, which should be available to all people.

 

Unfortunately, some parks are targeted with graffiti and vandalism.  This causes concern for people who visit the park and the surrounding neighborhood.  Graffiti and vandalism bring down the enjoyment because it defaces the beauty of the park, but it also causes fear.  Parks that bear the burden of graffiti and vandalism lack the presence of security, which causes the park to no longer feel safe. In the same article mentioned above, personal safety was reported as a barrier to 17% of the people surveyed.  That means these people are not able to enjoy the park because of fears that they or the people they care about are not safe at the park.

 

Since parks are an important part of  quality life, it should be important to officials to safe guard the use of the parks for all communities and protect those who use them.  What are you doing to protect the parks?