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School's Out, Vandalism's In

Spikes in graffiti in recent years in Chandler, AZ have led to over a dozen calls a week to the parks district and over 1,231 calls to the Neighborhood Services Department last year. Graffiti can destroy property, lower real estate values, encourage crime, and undermine people's sense of safety.

For Kris Kircher, a Chandler parks superintendent in Arizona, the end of the school year is just the beginning of the vandalism season. He describes that the end of the school year leads to higher rates of vandalism that continues until classes resume in the fall. Over the summer, his crews spend their time (and taxpayer dollars) "painting over graffiti, replacing stall doors in public restrooms and fixing broken sprinkler heads, when their time and money would be better spent improving parks and upgrading landscaping."

“You’d be surprised where the damage occurs,” Kircher said. “Sometimes it’s in the pricier neighborhoods.”

The biggest problem is graffiti, which has skyrocketed in recent years. Kircher said his staff takes about a dozen graffiti work orders a week, in addition to the work done by a fulltime graffiti painter in the Neighborhood Services Department who responded to 1,231 calls last year.

The city has stopped implementing the use of river rock in park landscaping because the rocks are used to destroy equipment such as picnic tables, playground equipment and restroom fixtures. Particularly in the male restrooms, Kircher has to replace several doors from teenagers swinging on them. Kircher described that the city is considering the use of cameras at entrances, like the city of Phoenix, to try to deter vandals.

Source: The Arizona Republic

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December 7, 2019, 4:24 am PDT

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