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Community initiatives deterred by vandalism

Posted on September 7, 2016 by Taber Times

Like clockwork it seems like vandalism occurs to a town-owned facility whose purpose is to give families or individuals something extra to do in their spare time.

Look at this week’s crime report from the Taber Police Service, and once again, you will see vandalism being done to part of the Taber Spray Park, this time graffiti.

It is with some frustration by town council, the citizenry and definitely here at The Times, that this occurs, simply from the very fact as studies have tried to pin down the causal effect, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to why vandalism occurs.

Some could be seen as artistic expression as some tagging is mural-like in its artistry, rather than destructive graffiti. Some can come from a warped sense of humour or have some sort of political message attached to it.

Vandalism can come from a sense of wanting to belong by youth or young adults, that could come from a drunken dare, as some studies have shown alcohol to be involved in many cases of vandalism.

Vandalism can stem from feelings of disaffection with the surroundings and society in general. If a person feels that nobody cares about him and that society is somehow against him, then his respect for other people and their possessions is likely going to be diminished. There is the adrenaline factor where someone gets that rush of smashing something through vandalism.

The ‘kids are bored and have nothing to do’ angle for vandalism seems to have little worth, because often the cases involving vandalism in Taber involve the very things (skateboard park, spray park, ball diamonds, park benches, trails etc) that are intended to give youth things to do.

There is no easy answer to the root causes of vandalism, because if there was, there would likely be easy solutions.

Vandalism seems so senseless and only deters community groups from wanting to go that extra mile to make the community they reside in a better place to live, when they see their year-long efforts destroyed in mere minutes.

The cumulative effects of vandalism means tax dollars being spent to repair the damage or be put to preventative measures (e.g. extra lighting) that could easily be used for more productive means. That also counts for police manpower that needs to be diverted to patrol these vandalism problem areas that could be used elsewhere, if people chose to keep things in their present state for people to enjoy.

If these are youth and young adults committing these crimes, it is up to parents, teachers and other role models to educate our young generation on the real damage their actions cause, and also give real consequences.

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