Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Park Vandalism Concerns

The City of Milton Police Department and Public Works Department have noted an unusually high number of vandalism complaints at our municipal parks this year. Last week, Central Park was broken into and several hundred dollars of tennis balls were stolen from the tennis team. These incidents cause concern to our staff for a variety of different reasons. Damage to our parks potentially makes the parks less enjoyable for citizens to use. Our city DPW staff works hard to maintain our parks with a great sense of pride in our community. We do not want citizens to have to look at inappropriate carvings or spray painted words upon these facilities.

Secondly, the clean up and repair of damaged parks costs our citizens and all who pay taxes in Milton a fair amount of money. Be it the Officer taking a report of the incident or the Department of Public Works cleaning up the spray paint or repairing the damage, staff time dedicated to this problem begins to add up quickly, and prevents staff from working on other issues that need to be addressed.

In an effort to curb the on-going problem the police department has deployed an intern officer on bicycle patrol to try to identify and apprehend those damaging our parks. However, that effort has not been successful yet so we are asking for greater citizen assistance to help us stop this problem. We are asking citizens to report any and all suspicious behavior in and around our parks to the Milton Police Department immediately. We are also asking anyone with knowledge about these previous incidents to call us, so that we can stop this problem and keep our parks a place that all our residents and visitors can continue to enjoy. While it is our desire to keep parks and park bathrooms open and available as much as possible, continued vandalism may be the cause to consider changes to how long and late park access is available.

Anyone wishing to report suspicious information as it takes place or has knowledge about previous incidents of vandalism at our parks can contact our agency directly by calling the Rock County non-emergency line at 757-2244 (which will have an officer dispatched to you), or you may call the Janesville/Milton Area Crime Stoppers at 756-3636. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.