Officials fed up with vandalism at local parks

NOW: Officials fed up with vandalism at local parks

MISHAWAKA, Ind.-- Community parks in Mishawaka saw their fair share of issues over the last year, and now things like vandalism have only gotten worse as the weather warms up. 

“We have had an increase in vandalism in our city parks. It’s out of control,” Mishawaka Police Department Lieutenant Tim Williams said. 

In 2020 there were 3 reports of possible vandalism, 2 of which were confirmed. But so far this year in 2021, that number has sextupled to 13 reports. They range from park equipment being broken, to things being set on fire. And officials have had enough. 

“We have 0 tolerance for vandalism in our parks,” Mishawaka Parks Superintendent Phil Blasko said. 

“We want this as a great resource for our community and for visitors to be able to enjoy and not have to worry about coming to and seeing things torn apart, dismantled, defaced and just honestly taking away from the actual beauty of it,” Williams said. 

The Mishawaka Parks Department has a program called “CAPS,” where volunteers patrol and monitor everything happening on park grounds. Officials though, are asking the nearby community to step it up and do the same. 

“If you see something, say something. Help us protect and keep our nature resources here at the park in good condition,” Williams said. 

Along with increasing patrol around the parks, and using surrounding cameras to hold people accountable, officials say parents will also be held responsible since many of the vandalism cases tied to juveniles.  

"We are going to fix problems but also hold them accountable,” Blasko said. 

“As parents you are responsible for your child’s actions, so If they’re out here damaging the park, there’s going to be consequences for that,” Williams said. 

This could even mean getting fined! 

“I believe our city is going to end up sending them a bill for the cost to replace or fix it up,” Williams said. 

The details of the fine system haven’t been disclosed yet. 

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