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Safe Parks are Healthy for the Community

Safe Parks are Healthy for the Community

Parks are an invaluable asset to all communities.  Communities with well maintained parks are thriving communities of healthy people.  Parks increase the community’s physical activities and interaction.  Parks are also known to reduce stress even if one only sits at a park bench.

For a park to provide what the community needs there are certain aspects to take into consideration.  Several characteristics that can negatively impact a park is crime, the suggestion of crime, or the suggestion of gang activity such as graffiti.  Graffiti and vandalism not only change the esthetic look of the park, it changes the feel of a park and the park is no longer inviting.

Here are some suggestions to combat the negative behavior that impacts your park:

  • 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 Graffiti Cameras and patrolling officers
  • Clean up all vandalism and graffiti immediately
  • Maintain safety measures for the park and all park equipment

The NRPA has a tool to help communities evaluate their parks.  This NRPA site provides interactive tools like custom reports on value and budgets and presents data and key insights.   It would be beneficial for your parks department to look at the tools provided and use what will enhance your agency’s performance.

Keep your Park safe for a healthy community!

#ParksAndRecreation #graffiti #novandalism #publicworks #deterrence #police

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

Protecting Park Equipment from Vandalism

Protecting Park Equipment from Vandalism

As the local Director or Manager of the community park, you know on any given afternoon the park is full of activity. Dogs catching Frisbees, couples strolling, and large picnic parties are all common activities taking place in the park. No park area is busier than that of the playground area.

The reasons for the bustle of activity on the playground are important ones; important for both the community in which the park resides, as well as the individual children themselves. The emotional and social benefits of the playground relieve children of anxiety and stress and encourage learning amongst each other. The use of playground equipment allows children to partake in unrestricted recreation known as “free play”. This “free play” offers an ideal opportunity for children to develop learning abilities and bond socially with one another. Physical activity at the playground also promotes a child’s general wellness and health.

Public playground equipment is anything but inexpensive, averaging a cost of anywhere between $8,000 to $150,000, depending on the quality of the equipment. The safety of high-quality playground equipment also plays a large roll when it comes to its price. 

Given its important roll to childhood development, playground equipment benefits our communities for generations to come, and thus, this investment must be protected. Damage sustained from things like vandalism or misuse can easily render playground equipment unusable and leave no creative outlet for a child’s energy and imagination to play freely. Vandalized equipment compromises the safety of children and has the ability to harm them both physically and emotionally. It’s incredibly disheartening for a child’s feeling of excitement to play, quickly turn to disappointment and malaise at learning that their local playground has been closed due to vandalism. 

Fortunately, there is a tool the helps protect the valuable equipment you have installed.  Portable cameras that can be customized for the park’s needs and strategically placed are very effective at stopping vandalism before it happens, therefore protecting the playground and preventing unnecessary closures due to repairs.