Posts

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.

Park Vandalism Affects our Community

Park Vandalism Affects our Community

Our community’s public parks were built in order to bring recreation and joy to all who patronize them. Why certain individuals decide to vandalize these wonderful places, we may never fully know. Whether it’s to blow off steam or mindless boredom, the fact remains that our parks are easily accessible to the public, and as such, will continue to be a likely target for would-be vandals. What these vandals obviously do not take into consideration, however, is the toll the consequences of their actions have on the community that enjoys visiting these beautiful places.

In addition to the physical dangers vandalism incurs at our parks, the emotional distress that park patrons suffer upon learning they are victims of this heinous crime is also of serious concern. “The impact of vandalism, as well as other related crime, on victims results in emotional, psychological, physical, financial, social, and spiritual consequences” (National Institute of Mental Health, 2006). Children who frequent parks are inspired to develop their creative imagination and social bonds when they are engaged in what’s known as “free play”. In the event of park closure due to an act of vandalism, children are deprived of this emotional development which can lead to complications such as depression and anxiety in social situations. A child may not fully comprehend how or why someone has vandalized their play area, leading to acting out anger episodes and fits.

When a Virginia Beach park’s playground equipment was vandalized with derogatory sayings in January of 2015, children who had regularly enjoyed the park were visibly upset by the act. Izabella Garcia told ABC news, “It makes me feel uncomfortable to be on the swings and look at what they wrote. It just makes me feel like I shouldn’t be there.” Izabella mentioned that it makes her not want to play there anymore, which shows firsthand the distress vandalism causes to children.

Parks that suffer from recurrent vandalism may be perceived by community members that neighborhood crime is on the rise, causing fear, mistrust, and anxiety towards other residents. This type of personal isolation leaves a community more susceptible and vulnerable to further crime and acts of violence. Forcing the neighborhood in which one lives down a dark road of crime and urban decay. 

It is important the parks departments deter these nuisance crimes to prevent the emotional distress these crimes cause the community.

Stopping Vandalism with Behavior Modification

Stopping Vandalism with Behavior Modification

The term vandalism is defined as “the deliberate or mischievous destruction or damage of property”. Acts of vandalism can occur on both private and public property, and at locations where there is little risk of the perpetrator being caught. Vandalism can occur at any time of the day, but is commonly committed at night, when there is less civilian oversight, and thus, less likelihood the suspect will be seen and caught.

These ideal situations for perpetrators of vandalism to commit the crime can be analyzed from a prevention point-of-view, leading to a means of behavior modification appropriate for deterring the act. While an act of vandalism is often seen as a senseless crime, it is obvious that any type of behavior does not occur without motivation.

Schools, who have implemented behavior-modifying programs which include positive environment reinforcement, as well as minimalizing occasions of student disruption, have shown a 78 per cent reduction in instances of vandalism. The interruption of an individual about to commit an act of vandalism, via this type of behavior modification, serves as an excellent method of crime prevention.

The vandalism camera works as a preventative measure against occurrences of the crime by way of behavior modification. The on-board technology of this type of camera sends out a verbal alert when triggered and serves as a behavioral intervention, causing the perpetrator to pause and reflect as to why they are committing the crime.

The placement and use of the anti-vandalism camera prevents instances of vandalism from occurring due to the nature of the camera. Because would-be vandals do not want to attempt the crime when the risk of being captured on camera is high, augmenting their behavior, the vandal simply moves on. 

Keeping Parks Safe from Vandalism

Keeping Parks Safe from Vandalism

Childhood obesity is an issue many parents are currently facing in the United States. The answers many parents are considering include a multitude of after-school programs geared toward helping children stay fit and active. Sports, such as baseball or soccer, often take place in local community parks and/or recreation centers. Because the park hosts many different exercise programs, a vandalized park can easily leave children, as well as parents, with the feeling that their environment is unsafe.

Instances of graffiti vandalism at a community park can often incite further gang-related crime, and more recurrences of graffiti, if not quickly abated. The appearance of this type of negative, criminal element can easily scare a child and parent alike, naturally leaving parents with the notion that the park environment is unsafe for their child’s activity to take place.

The unsafe environment that a vandalized park alludes to leaves children with the inability to enjoy their recreation or activity of choice, causing a void that physical activity would normally displace. This type of inactivity only furthers the problem of childhood obesity and can easily lead to depression or other psychological malaise after a child’s beloved neighborhood park has been closed due to vandalism. Many parents are also circumspect about having their children play in the unsafe environment of a recently vandalized park.

Because safe parks are an integral component to helping curb childhood obesity, it is important to do our best to manage a means of prevention, keeping our parks free from things like graffiti and vandalism; allowing children to dutifully engage in safe and active recreation.  The National Recreation and Park Association, (NRPA) lists out guidelines on evaluating the park’s safety and the implementation of factors to create a safe park.  Some crucial conditions were, good maintenance, good lighting, enforced rules, and surveillance

What is your Parks Department doing to keep your park safe from Vandalism?