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Brief History of Vandalism in Parks

Brief History of Vandalism in Parks

The history of vandalism is a long and tragic one. The term “vandalism” was first coined by the Abbe Henri Gregoire, the Bishop of Blois in 1794. The Bishop coined the term for the purpose of denouncing and quenching the widespread riots which had enveloped all of France in the early months of the French Revolution. The Bishop was inspired to use the term “vandalism” as he remembered the violent reputation of the Vandals. The Vandals were a Germanic tribe who played a huge role in the fall of the Roman Empire. The people had become so out of control that they were beginning to act like the Vandals, destroying the very country they were trying to liberate from an oppressive French monarchy. The Bishop wanted to re-establish the pure and good principles of the revolution that had been lost in the hateful confusion of the rioting. So, the Bishop labeled the destructive behavior of the rioters as “vandalism.” The effort to paint the rioters’ behavior in a negative light succeeded. The term “vandalism” caught like wildfire and spread across Europe within weeks. The term originally referred to systematic revolutionary violence, but soon began to predominantly refer to the general desecration of art and architecture. All this to say, vandalism is no peripheral matter, regardless of where it takes place.

Unfortunately, the old practice of vandalism is still alive and well in our communities, especially public parks. The irresponsible and vengeful vandalism of public parks inflicts crippling blows to nearby residents. The presence of vandalism mars a community’s image and decreases real estate values. Many parks and recreation departments need to spend 30% of their maintenance budget to repair damages caused by vandalism, leaving no room for improving facilities. Communities need to put an end to vandalism.

The best way to stop vandalism from continuing to destroy communities is by installing state-of-the-art Vandalism Deterrent Cameras, which are specially designed to stop vandalism in parks, providing communities security in knowing their parks are protected and warding off vandals.

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

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

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