It’s time for outrage, and surveillance cameras, in our city’s parks.
Over the past two weeks, more than 50 sprinkler heads in Wildwood Park have been destroyed by vandals causing more than $4,000 in damage. Washington Park, too, has been hit by vandals as graffiti defaced a mural as well as other buildings. Park restrooms have also been hit by vandals.
“There has been an uptick in vandalism in parks,” said Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Department Director Andy Coleman.
And that’s why the city’s Recreation and Urban Forestry Advisory Board voted earlier this month to approve buying cameras to monitor parks. It’s a wise decision.
The proposal will now go before the City Council, perhaps as early as September, for discussion. If the plan is sound and reasonably priced, it should be approved.
Coleman said it appears some of the vandalism at Washington Park was gang related. Parks department workers “just painted white over the tagging because it was so bad,” he added. Other acts of vandalism were simply people making very bad decisions.
Making matters even worse in our parks, trash bins are overflowing at times because some inconsiderate people are dumping their garbage in the bins rather than taking it to the landfill or putting in their own trash containers.
Surveillance is now necessary in parks to serve as a deterrent to future vandalism and more as well as to bring miscreants to justice when they destroy public property.
Coleman said surveillance cameras have been considered for parks in the past, but the upsurge in the senseless destruction and desecration has made it a priority. Coleman said that the cost of each camera unit, about $8,000, should eventually be offset by the money saved through the prevention of the destructive acts.
But even if the surveillance efforts don’t amount to a large savings, it’s still important to take action out of principle. The disregard for the property of others — in this case the citizens of Walla Walla — can’t be tolerated.