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Protect Your Park’s Assets

Protect Your Park’s Assets

The popular TV show about parks people gave us laughter when the main character tried to turn an empty lot into a park, but every Parks and Recreation employee knows developing a new park is no joke.  Once you designate the area or lot, the fun has just begun with finding Capital Funding and Operational Funding.  Your park will not only cost you thousands of dollars, but it also cost you in sweat, time, and vision. To get a better idea of what is involved, People make Parks, created tools to help with frequently asked questions for people who design and build a parks.

According to the NC State Extension Publications, the typical cost to just to have an athletic playing field averages $40,000 to an upwards amount of $400,000.   And if you want to have a structure like bathrooms or pavilions, the added cost averages $25,000 to $100,000 and this does not include the playground equipment that can cost an additional $500,000 depending on what equipment you choose.  

Parks are an investment into the community.  And this investment deserves protection.

To protect your park’s assets:

  •  Make sure there is adequate lighting
  • Create activities and programs that involve the community
  • Have Site Managers
  • Have walking routes
  • Display Maps at entrances and walk routes
  • Have Security Measures in place, such as Vandalism Cameras and patrolling officers
  • Clean up all vandalism and graffiti immediately
  • Maintain safety measures for the park and all park equipment

#NoVandalism, #ProtectParks, #Parksandrec, #ParksAndRecreation, #WeAreParksAndRec

Vandalism and COVID-19

Vandalism and COVID-19

With the COVID-19 and stay at home orders, parks are experiencing an increase in vandalism and graffiti.  It is hard to understand why anyone would want to destroy a park, which is maintained and taken care of for our enjoyment. 

Some vandals may feel the park is part of an institution and destroying the park is a retribution in the eyes of the attacker, who felt they have been wrong by the authorities or maybe the community. 

But although parks are governed by the local authority in the form of park directors and rangers, the parks belong to the community. 

Communities with parks are healthier, both physically and mentally.  Parks provide a safe area to play, walk and enjoy the squirrels.  According to Premier Health, breathing fresh air can raise oxygen in your brain and levels of serotonin.  All this alleviates stress and helps you sleep better.

So, why would people destroy the area created for this purpose?   During the COVID-19 restrictions, even people who normally follow the laws are feeling constrained, depressed and angry.  And those who already tend to push legal boundaries, are lashing out in unlawful ways.

Enforcing the COVID-19 orders is not easy.  During these unpresented times, restraining the public to refrain from using the parks is going to require truth and grace. 

Tools to help:

  • Social Media: Use social media to educate the public on the importance of social distancing
  • Signs: Post signs being clear what is off limits and the rules of social distancing in your parks
  • Barriers: Use barriers to define the areas off limits
  • Nuisance Crime Cameras: Nuisance Crime Cameras were designed to stop all unwanted activity and can be customized to stop COVID activities in your park

#vandalisminparks

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:

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.