Vandalism Problem In Prattville City Parks

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By Catalina Trivino

CBS 8 is taking action against crime -- Prattville Police say vandalism is becoming a problem in some of its city parks and the cost is adding up. So now police need your help to find the vandals.

 
Police say there was a time when several weeks would go by before they'd get any call of criminal mischief going on in the parks. But now they're having to respond to calls sometimes three to four times a week.
 
Caution tape marks the vandalism -- police say the torn up grass is caused by four-wheelers and trucks spinning out at Cooter's Pond. Cars driving down the creek are causing an environmental problem. Police are finding gas and oil leaked into the creek.
 
But Cooter's Pond isn't the only place being affected...
 
"Here at Pratt Park, for example, here's some areas we had to recently cover up due to some graffitti that we've had that we found on the back side of our restrooms," Said Prattville Parks and Recreation Director, Kellie Cook. "A lot of people don't see them from the front side, but people take advantage of the creek now and it's an eyesore when people are paddling down our creek and that's the first thing they see on the back of our restrooms."
 
And it all adds up.
 
Cook says these picnic tables at Pratt Park are fairly new, but skateboards and bikes are tearing them apart. Just replacing all of these would cost nearly $3,000.
 
And check out this bathroom at Bell Park: some of the sinks and toilets were torn off the walls. They're fixed for now.
 
Kathy Snyder who brings her grand-kids out to the park often says the vandalism is unacceptable.
 
"If people are coming in here and vandalizing it, they need to catch them because it will make people not want to come down here because they'll be afraid to bring their grand kids or their kids down here to play, fearing of what might happen," Said Snyder.
 
A vandalism problem police chief, Mark Thompson, says has increased in the last several months..
And why the vandals are doing it is still a mystery...
 
"Just kids going in tearing up stuff I guess because they don't have anything better to do," Said Thompson.
 
Thompson says just last weekend they arrested some teens for setting a toilet paper on fire in one of the bathrooms at Newton Park. Luckily, they caught the fire in time before it burned up the bathroom, just another thing they have to add to the thousands of dollars they've had to spend on repairs.
 
Thompson says the vandalism is leading to more patrols in those areas. So here's how you can take action against crime -- if you see any suspicious activity going on at any of the parks, call police at 595-0208.

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