- From: Maria <down@xxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 09 Sep 2010 10:55:47 +0100
On 9/9/2010 10:37 AM, Ret. wrote:
Some 12 months ago our local parish council raised enough money to
create a brand new play area in the village. The usual things - swings,
climbing frames, etc. The entire area was 'paved' with soft crumb rubber
'carpet' with hop-scotch patterns and footprints' moulded into it. The
play park was surrounded by metal fencing and the gates locked at night.
It was a really nice play area and my wife and I take our grand-daughter
there regularly when she stays.
Of course the inevitable has happened, the local vandals have been in,
spray painted obscenities all over the equipment and the flooring,
ripped huge chunks of the rubber flooring up, and generally trashed the
This sort of thing makes my blood boil. You can 'understand' burglary or
shop-lifting because there is something to be gained from it - but
wanton destruction just for the sake of it is beyond me.
Whenever, in my previous occupation, I had to caution youths for
vandalism like this, I always tried to find out just what prompted them
to do it.
The usual answer? : "We were just having a laugh..."
Quite frankly, humane destruction is too good for these sort of
I lived in a small town (about 10,000 people), and I lived opposite the recreation ground. When I first moved to the town 25 years ago, it had a small police station with two full-time coppers. That was closed in the late 1980's, and operations came from a town 5 miles away, then that was closed and it was 10 miles away. Now that has stopped and they come from 20 miles away.
Living opposite the recreation ground, I had to watch while vandals glued broken glass to the slide, smeared it with dog excrement, smashed the swings and other equipment late in the evening after spending a couple of hours in the park binge drinking. I used to go running across the road shouting at them - the curtain-twitchers wouldn't oome out and back me up. I put myself at considerable risk doing this, but I have a bad temper and couldn't contain myself.
I called the police so many times I lost count - they would drift on by in a patrol car about two hours after the yobs had left.
The final straw was having to watch drug dealers openly selling stuff to teenagers from the boot of a BMW at the park, in broad daylight, with no attempt to hide what they were doing. Again I called the police - thanks for letting us know. No patrol car.
Over the years, the play equipment was smashed, burnt, vandalised, and then replaced again and again on a piecemeal basis. I moved away from that hole 4 years ago and what is it like now?
The council finally gave up trying to patch up the old playground and installed a new one - cost 50k. It was finished and fenced off with orange builders fencing until the grand opening. Before the opening, the playground was destroyed by yobs who poured petrol on it and set fire to it. My best friend who still lives in the town has a son, who has been set upon by two other under-16's - one hit him on the back of the head with a lorry spanner, and the other kicked him unconscious on his own doorstep. Young people are driving around the town in gangs, pouncing on middle-aged people, dragging them out of cars and kicking them until they are seriously injured. Hardly any of this is in the local news even. People in larger towns here are busy selling up and moving to this town because they thnk it is a quiet backwater with no drugs or crime - the opposite is true - it's the Wild West over there now.
I live in a much larger town now. There is a police presence here, hardly any vandalism. There is still a drug problem as there is everywhere, but being in a larger town means it's not in my face all the time. We even had two drug-related murders within 1/4 mile of my house, but I still feel safer here because druggies mostly only have contact with one another, not terrorising the rest of the town.
It's really up to police and government if they want to sort this. There are no rules enforced. The only time the police visit the town is to do with major drug dealer issues. Make rules apply by putting someone there to apply them, or just watch while those small, local societies disintegrate.
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