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Stop Park Vandalism

It is hard to believe that in this generation with all the education on protecting the environment and recycling that the graffiti problem and leaving trash at public parks even exists.  According to the Saint George News, Hurricane, jumping rocks located in Sand Hollow State Park, had to be closed for clean up due to accumulated trash and graffiti.  Sand Hollow State Park is a beautiful park with large rock and sandstone formations that are part of the Sand Hollow Reservoir.  The Sandstone formations are beautiful natural art pieces that sit on the water’s edge. The assistant park manager, Darren Tucker, indicated the area is being “marred by littering, graffiti, things being thrown into the water even.”   It is hard to believe this happened. Who would mar this beautiful area?

And yet,  today more and more of our National Parks are getting tagged and marred. If our society is to leave a better world for the next generation, we need to do more than clean up after the fact.  Cleaning the graffiti introduces chemicals to the area which affects the air quality and the water, due to run off.  The chemicals could also enter and contaminate the in-ground water.  As the left behind trash sits in the sun, chemicals are released.  Our society needs to do better.

As a society what can we do? The Los Angeles Police Department has listed several ways an individual can help their community. Several to note are education, clean up, reporting and protecting. As most offenders are young, the LAPD encourages the public to volunteer in areas that educate the young that vandalism, which includes graffiti and illegal trash dumping, is a crime.  Volunteering also encourages the young to use their time for valuable moments rather than doing something that is hurtful to the community.  It is important we make our parks a priority.  What are some ways you can help stop graffiti and vandalism in our parks?

No graffiti tonight

Stop School Graffiti

Over the Christmas weekend, a school in Bundaberg Australia experienced graffiti on their walls.  The vandals painted “tags and vulgar language” with flares on the side of the school building. Bundaberg‘s relieving officer-in-command, Glen Cameron, states, “Over the school holidays police actively increase their patrols in these areas in an attempt to prevent offences like this occurring.” Graffiti in schools does not just occur in a vacuum. If police increased their patrols, what are locals doing in stopping school graffiti?

“But assistance from members of the public goes a long way to preventing antisocial behavior in and around school grounds.”, says Cameron. The police can only do so much. They enforce the law and prevent nuisance crimes as much as their resources and tools allow them, but vandalism in schools is a social problem that communities need to address.  Preventing “antisocial behavior” could lead to preventing vandalism in schools.

The fact that “vulgar language” is being sprayed on school property asks two questions. Why is the language vulgar? And why does it happen on school grounds? Teenagers can be rebellious and sometimes antisocial toward society, but who sets their boundaries? They do, but initially boundaries  start at the home. Vulgar language is probably used by their friend groups and local communities. Once “vulgar language” is spoken, usually others copy.

The next question is why at a school? The school gives them homework, has rules, and has authority. Vandals probably don’t like authority, and the school becomes the perfect target. These antisocial crimes do not just occur without reason. Being anti-authoritative could be one of the causes. The Center for Police-Oriented Policing says graffiti sprayers are usually associated with other illegal activity. There is a culture that goes along with graffiti spraying, and usually, it is not positive.

The police of Bundaberg urge the community to contact the police if anyone sees suspicious activity around the schools. Why didn’t anyone contact them? Did no one see them? That could be true, but part of being a community is being aware of suspicious activity. Communities around the globe should be actively setting consistent boundaries and be aware of unusual local activity. Seeking ways to create a culture that stops school graffiti can be hard, but should be done, because it starts with “assistance” from the community.

Reporting

Graffiti Reporting Helps Graffiti Prevention Efforts

Reporting graffiti sites is an effective way a community can work together to help with graffiti prevention efforts. The Brooklyn Daily states that reports of graffiti have skyrocketed to 166 percent—from 91 in 2014 to 242 in 2015 – in the 61st Precinct in Brooklyn New York.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) says the increase in reports are due to the newly instituted proactive graffiti prevention program that encourages graffiti reporting. The district sends “cops to find graffiti and then a report is generated to get it removed.” Reports are required to have the graffiti removed or it will go unnoticed.

This new graffiti prevention program has increased the amount of public awareness of graffiti incidents within the community. With a dedicated resource in place for these efforts, the residents themselves can contact and report a graffiti site and have an officer generate an official report for removal to take place. Prior to this program, many cases may not have been addressed by the city even if someone had reported it to the police. With the community actively participating in the police department’s overall graffiti prevention efforts, the program is further strengthened which results in a more effective and successful program, which in the end will help address the graffiti issue within the community all together.

Sirens

How to Prevent Crime in Your Community

Because government and local law enforcement are responsible for addressing issues of crime in a community, it is easy for citizens to not be involved in crime prevention efforts. A question may be asked, How do I help prevent crime in my local community?” Here are three quick tips on how residents can be involved in preventing crime – Participate, Promote and Protect:

Participate:  This is probably the biggest factor. By having residents actively involved in community crime prevention efforts, they become a “force multiplier” for local law enforcement, giving them more eyes on the street.  Part of participating in preventing crime is democracy in action. The outcome that results from your participation in the local government not only helps impact the community, it ultimately also impacts you the resident.

A key to being involved with the community means to be educated. Follow the news and current events to understand what is going on in the government and your local community. Learn the laws and follow them. Have knowledge of local events and establish relationships with your neighbors and local businesses. Build a partnership with your city officials and law enforcement, and voice your concerns. Learn problem solving skills and proactive ways on how to prevent crime, and share them with others. Ask questions, seek help, and develop answers. Notify the police when you see suspicious activity in your neighborhood.

Promote:  Promote your local government and law enforcement. Promote their organizations and their events to help create awareness so others in your community can also be educated. Look for community improvement initiatives and efforts led by your local government and promote their values. Promote good family values, because morals start there. Promote your laws and set an example so others can follow them as well.

Protect:  Don’t just follow your local laws, but defend them. You can help prevent crime through community policing. Although sometimes misperceived, “community policing” simply means actively helping to prevent crimes by following the law and not interfering with the local government. Help prevent crime such as violence, vandalism and other nuisance crimes before it happens, in a way that promotes your local laws and government.