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Vandal Proof-"Bah Humbug"

by Gary Hopfinger, Belleville

Manufacturers today claim to have vandal-proof products. Bah Humbug! I have yet to see a "real" vandal-proof product that can not be vandalized and works properly.

With vandalism's being the number 1 problem in the park maintenance program with the Belleville Recreation and Parks Department, we have experimented with vandal-proof drinking fountains, vandal-proof restroom fixtures (as used in prisons), vandal-proof play equipment, vandal-proof locking electrical receptacle covers, vandal-proof light fixtures, vandal-proof picnic tables and vandal-proof concrete park benches.

Besides these we have had vandalized metal doors, chain link fences, street lights, electric meters, electric panels (fuse box), telephones, picnic shelters, a cable barrier strung through upright pipes, basketball nets, tennis nets, volleyball poles, windows, shower heads (in bathhouse at pool), restroom ceiling, water pipes hidden above the restroom ceiling, bar-b-que grills, flags and flag poles and receiving honorable mention in the vandals target are trees, flowers and shrubs.

In some cases the company assembled and installed the item and in other areas the work was contracted out and still in others the work was done by our staff.

When we survey the damage we wonder how it was done. That brings to question "what is vandal-proof?" Some of the things we have purchased being classified as "vandal-proof have proven not to be vandal-proof. On the other hand those items which have proven to be vandal-proof do not function properly.

Listed below are items that we found to be vandal-proof and functions properly.

1. Metal doors with metal door jambs that open outward

2. Belt swing with interwoven steel strap

3. Plexi glass type lighting fixture covers

I offer a challenge to any manufacturer of "vandal-proof" working items to use Belleville Recreation and Parks Department as a testing grounds and as a member of Illinois Parks and Recreation Society, I welcome the opportunity to open a forum from any of my fellow members on vandal-proofing that has worked in any Park Department or District.

(Editors note: We welcome contributions on any area of park maintenance or operations. The success of this column depends on your ideas, activities and comments. Send your article to IPRS, Editor, 600 E. Algonquin Rd., DesPlaines, IL 60016.)

Illinois Parks and Recreation 11 September/October, 1976

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