Problem Solver - August 2012
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Prevent Vandalism at Your Park

Ensuring your site stays beautiful means paying close attention to how you design that site. Be sure to provide the right kinds of furnishings to encourage park users to visit, and also to clean up after themselves, including picnic tables, benches, and garbage and recycling receptacles. But also, you need to choose durable products that can stand up to the abuses that will be heaped upon them.

Q: What kinds of materials should we consider to ensure durability and prevent vandalism and graffiti?

A: Vandalism sends a signal of neglect, and might even suggest that more serious crimes are occurring. All of it adds up to safety concerns for your patrons, and costs for you. Communities can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars cleaning up after vandals, including graffitists, arsonists and others.

Talk to the manufacturer of your site components about the durability of various materials. You want products that can stand up to some degree of vandalism, but also to the daily wear and tear, such as patrons standing and jumping on picnic tables and benches and so on.

Look for materials with a protective coating that can be cleaned without destroying the integrity of the surface. Dark colors also help to deter graffiti artists, as their work will be less visible.

Q: What should we do to protect our park from vandals once our site furnishings are in place?

A: Be vigilant. Don't just set up your site and then forget about it. You'll want your maintenance team making regular sweeps.

Keep the park clean to avoid a neglected appearance. When graffiti or vandalism does occur, be sure to take care of it quickly. If you don't, it encourages further problems.

Try to get the local community involved in helping keep the site safe and free of problems as well. Community ownership can make a big difference.

Q: What else should we know?

A: Be sure your park is inviting and welcoming to families and groups. The more people using your facilities, the less problems you'll see from criminals, who generally don't want witnesses to their crimes.


R.J. Thomas Mfg. Company: 800-762-5002