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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Escalating vandalism baffling park board

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Graffiti was spray-painted in the ladies restroom of the Forest Park Comfort Station Tuesday. The restrooms are located near Roy Brann Stadium. Jason Moon Photo. [Order this photo]
Brazil Parks Board President Ruthann Jeffries doesn't understand why.

What started out as the breaking of windows in the cow palace at Forest Park escalated Tuesday after park officials discovered graffiti in ladies restroom.

"I'm very upset," Jeffries said. "The anger is from not understanding why. What kick do they get out of this?

"I would like to know what is causing this. The last two years, vandalism has been at a minimum."

The graffiti was found in the restrooms at the Comfort Station, located near Roy Brann Stadium and the walking track of the park.

Park Supt. Bill Houck said graffiti has been painted in various places of the park before.

Park officials took the necessary steps to alleviate the vandalism a couple of years ago by beefing up security. However, because the park board is under budget constraints, security is minimal now.

"We're in a Catch-22," Jeffries said.

Brazil City Police Department Reserves have started foot patrols in the park and Houck said he comes to the park during the weekend to check. As well, Jeffries said park board officials are still interested in having volunteers help with the situation.

"It's the defacing of property," City Police Chief Dave Archer said.

Archer said he did not believe the graffiti was gang-related.

"It's something they've seen and they are emulating," he said.

Park Board member Todd Brackman said the board has considered its options regarding security, including placing video cameras. But with a limited budget, the board realizes that may not be feasible.

Ruthann Jeffries
"It's a double-edged sword," he said.

"It's an issue when you have to spend money and the budget has been cut," Archer added.

Jeffries said she has received phone calls from several city residents regarding the vandalism.

"A lot of people are very angry about what is going on," she said.

The Park Board is still offering a $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of those involved in the vandalism.

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So far this yr everytime I have taken my kids up there to play there has been older kids all over the play ground, my 5yr old was pushed down and at one time, and was told to get out of the way while these kids run all over the place. I think the play area needs to be left to the smaller kids to play, and a area needs to be built for the older kids to go and have fun too. It would also be nice for the parents of these kids to get off their lazy butts and come down to check on their kids and see how they are acting. Assuming they even know or care where they are.

-- Posted by METOOO on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 8:11 AM

What kick do they get out of this, you ask? They get a laugh knowing they got away with something and they get to read about it in the paper knowing they stumped cops and the park board.

The more the vandalism is written about in the Times the more it will occur, because in the vandals minds that's their Andy Warhol fifteen minutes. It also encourages copycat behavior.


-- Posted by Da'Crusher on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 8:39 AM

It is so sad and disgusting that no one can have anything nice anymore because of disrespectful, mean kids and/or people. Look around you......

vandalism to cars, homes, yards, anything and everything that can be destroyed is, and now that warmer weather is here, no one is able to escape the worry and stress that they too could be a victim. How very sad. We work years and years to get something, only to have the fear someone will destroy it. Hopefully someday things will be like the "good old days" . Not likely, but we can hope.

-- Posted by JaniLou on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 9:03 AM

Why can't the Park Board take turns patroling the park.

And a comment for METOOO

When your 5 yr old grows up and wants to spend the night with a friend will you know were they are at 100% of the time.

I am one of those parents that have older children my 17 yr old has a car his friend and him like to go and play sand tag (you cannot touch the sand or you are out) he is there you you should be fixing supper for you child,he was told to watch for the littler children.

And by the way I am at work at that time.

-- Posted by Batchelor3495 on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 9:17 AM

I go to the park with my children all of the time. They also like to play tag on the playground. My husband and I play tag with them!! I think that the parks are there for everyone to enjoy. If your child was pushed down by a 7 year old would you say that the playground should only be used for 5 year olds? No you wouldnt! I have had a 13 year old pushed down by an 18 year old. It happens! I hope your child wasnt hurt but any time you go to a public park you are going to have kids that play a little harder than yours. I know how teens parents feel, I have two of them and you can not know where they are at all times. The only thing that you can do is hope they have listened to what you have taught them. I know that sometimes they do and sometimes they dont. As far as the vandalisim, my guess would be that the parents are on drugs and the kids are raising themselves. I hope the parks board can come up with something to stop this. I dont have any magic answers other than parents make your children aware of what has been going on. Tell them that you will be by the park while they are playing. Even if you only show up once they will be wondering when your comming back!

-- Posted by dogslove on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 9:47 AM

It's not just kids. Take a look around around Brazil. People just don't care. I'm constantly picking up trash out of my front yard where lazy people just drive by and throw it out. There is no sense of pride in keeping things nice anymore.

-- Posted by ugotitdude on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 11:34 AM

This would go a long way towards helping to prevent vandalism. Why aren't these enforced???


IC 31-37-3-2: It is a curfew violation for a child fifteen (15), sixteen (16), or seventeen (17) years of age to be in a public place:

1. between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday;

2. after 11 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday; or

3. before 5 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

A law enforcement officer may not detain a child or take a child into custody based on a violation of the curfew violation unless the law enforcement officer, after making a reasonable determination and considering the facts and surrounding circumstances, reasonably believes that: 1. the child has violated the IC 31-37-3-2; and, 2. there is no legal defense to the violation.

IC 31-37-3-3: It is a curfew violation for a child less than fifteen (15) years of age to be in a public place after 11 p.m. or before 5 a.m. on any day. A law enforcement officer may not detain a child or take a child into custody based on a violation of the curfew violation unless the law enforcement officer, after making a reasonable determination and considering the facts and surrounding circumstances, reasonably believes that: 1. the child has violated IC 31-37-3-3; and, 2. there is no legal defense to the violation.

IC 31-37-3-3.5: Defenses = It is a defense to a violation under this chapter that the child was emancipated under IC 31-37-19-27 or IC 31-6-4-15.7 (before its repeal); by virtue of having married; or in accordance with the laws of another state or jurisdiction; at the time that the child engaged in the prohibited conduct. It is a defense to a violation under this chapter that the child engaged in the prohibited conduct while:

1. accompanied by the child's parent, guardian, or custodian;

2. accompanied by an adult specified by the child's parent, guardian, or custodian;

3. participating in, going to, or returning from:

A. lawful employment;

B. a school sanctioned activity;

C. a religious event;

D. an emergency involving the protection of a person or property from an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or substantial damage;

E. an activity involving the exercise of the child's rights protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article 1, Section 31 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana, or both, such a freedom of speech and the right to assembly; or

F. an activity conducted by a nonprofit or governmental entity that provides recreation, education, training, or other care under the supervision of one (1) or more adults;

4. participating in an activity undertaken at the prior written direction of the child's parent, guardian, or custodian; or

5. engaged in interstate or international travel from a location outside of Indiana to another location outside of Indiana.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 2:24 PM

Yes Batchlor I will know where my kids are 100% of the time no matter who they are spending the night with. I also have a 14yr old and know where he is, and he doesn't spend the night with any kid that I don't know his parents and I have talked to them. They know I don't let him run around town and I can assure you he would never treat a small child that way. But then again it's all in the way you raise your kids.

-- Posted by METOOO on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 3:50 PM

I do agree the more press you give this the more it will happen.

I think you have to get just as creative as they are to catch them. You need to invest in surveillance equipment that is hard to see and movable that is wired into the police department to catch them. I hate to add to the "big brother" monitoring, but I think it would help.

You may be pleasantly surprised how many volunteers you could get to help watch the park if you try to set up a kind of neighborhood watch there. You could even have a website that only monitors the areas after no one is to be there. People are interested watching things online, why not use it to your advantage? If it is known that people are watching in real time and can report you, you are less likley to try and get away with it.

-- Posted by localgal on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 6:53 PM

localgal will you donate the needed equipment?Watching too much TV.

-- Posted by donalde on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 9:07 PM

I would think equipment would be way cheaper than fixing up buildings. The cost doesn't have to be extravagant, it could be portable and be put in different problem areas. Many communities use them. I did not ever state I had the perfect solution, just an idea.

Not sure why you feel the need to slam me, if you have a better idea speak it. Seems to me that would be a better use of your time. It is easier to be rude than useful.

-- Posted by localgal on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 10:33 PM

localgal I was not being rude or slaming you. Lot of people live in a fanasty world.What your talking about cost way thousands of dollars money the park board do not have. They had check into this and check whith parks who have surcurity cameras and they say hard to get an ID. Best if there where parents.

-- Posted by donalde on Fri, Apr 2, 2010, at 6:26 AM


If you don't think you are being rude I would hate to see if you tried. I hope you do not work with the community because instead of just stating the facts and welcoming ideas and counter points you shut people down with your need to insult and belittle.

You seem to imply you know all the facts and took part in looking into a system, was looking into it wrong? Has it ever occurred to you that if you could get the community behind a cause of protecting their parks people would donate for security ? No, I alone don't have the money, but we as a whole are stronger than alone. I think the people who love the parks way outnumber the ones who abuse it.

The buses have a box on them that may or may not have a camera in them, and that deters bad behavior on the buses. Why is it living in a fantasy world to believe that could deter vandalism in the parks? I was not suggesting an expensive system that could identify who vandalized the park. My point is all you need to be able to do is see that something is happening and intercede before the vandalism happens. I think if many people are allowed to come up with ideas and express them without a common classroom bully sitting in the back calling them names, you may be surprised what could happen. Creativity has made this country great, my idea might not work but someone's will. In fact, the best solution may come from many ideas and efforts.

I totally agree with you that the parents are the true answer, and I agree with those who say you can know what your children are up to. It's not about knowing where they physically are 100% of the time, but knowing your kid, checking up on them and seeing if they are heading for trouble in their behavior and doing something about it. It can be a hard frustrating job, but that is what a parent does. No one else can reach your kid like you can.

I do long for families teaching children right from wrong, being polite to others and civic pride. But alas, even though I long for it also, that is a true fantasy. There are always going to be the "bad apples" or kids who simply do not know better because they were never taught at home. So if you don't mind I will stay on the creative side of this issue and encourage others to try and come up with good solutions.

-- Posted by localgal on Fri, Apr 2, 2010, at 6:43 PM

Localgal - think on this

It's not hunting season, I'll bet there are hunters in the are who have infrared game trail cameras who might lend them to the parks to watch for vandals.

The camera boxes are a good idea that is used in retail stores, casinos, and almost everywhere there is a need for security. The way they are constructed, you do not know if there is actually a camera or not, Then there are dummy cameras.

On another item, anyone who thinks that they are going to know where there kids are 100% of the time must have had a very uncommon childhood or does not remember being a child. I live a short distance from a park and my 15-year-old grandson lives with me. I provide him with a cellphone to keep contact, but what he doesn't realize is that both of the family vehicles have a pair of binoculars in them. I don't have to be seen to see him. I don't have to watch him all of the time, but he doesn't know when I will be watching.

People who think that they are going to be able to supervise their children until the day they become a legal adult should remember that when you walk a dog on a leash you are both attached to the leash. It is not possible for a parent to be in the park while working a job or fixing dinner. You simply cannot be with your children 24/7 or you would stunt their growth in being responsible adults. There is a time to "cut the apron strings" and it comes before the age of 18.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Fri, Apr 2, 2010, at 10:23 PM

Ideally, if we begin by TEACHING our children the importantce of love, compassion, respect for others, respect for one's self, respect for property at home, school, work, public properties, then most likely, this problem will stop. The teaching of good morals and being productive citizens in society should start with parents and then guess what...this problem and other disrespectful and criminal acts, will not stop all together, but it will lessen.

-- Posted by lissco on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 9:13 AM


The trap camera is a really good idea. You are right, you can't be with them 100% of the time, I hope you understand that I wasn't saying that. All our kids will do something at some point that we didn't expect. Our challenge is to know who their friends are and if they are a good influence on them or not. When a child makes a mistake it is our job to use that opportunity to teach responsibility, accountability and try to make a difference in that child's life. So many times I see and hear, "it's just a kid being a kid" as an excuse to not do something about it.. What they really need to be saying is, "my kid is just being a kid, now it's my job to be a parent." I can see that you feel the same way.

The tragedy is we have parents who were never parented. They truly don't have the skills to do so. Some children are totally on their own because their parents are messed up, usually by drugs. Sometimes we see the whole mountain and think the challenge is impossible and simply do not start walking up it. We just need to look at the step in front of us and bravely take it one step at a time. I want to say though there is no cut off age for being a parent. From observing those whom I have been blessed to be around, your job as parent changes as they grow, but it isn't over till you are gone.


Well said and I agree with you. This is a two part issue, and what I did agree with donalde about, the private side, parents have the biggest impact. The second part, the public side, what to do when that does not happen - and per this discussion, the park gets repeatedly vandalized.

It has crossed my mind what effect it would have on kids if they got credit for community service in school and if it would foster a love of things in our community, instead of primarily using it as a punishment for getting caught for doing something wrong. Don't get me wrong - I think community service for people who have broken the law is a good program, but it would be nice if students coming up in school got the chance to have pride in doing something for the community. I know some clubs already do so, and I applaud them.

-- Posted by localgal on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 1:15 PM

Unfortunately , those parents screwed up by drugs are the ones clay county welfare decide are "perfect" to raise mentally disabled children that recieve a check from the state every month, (keeps them in meth.. you know) Go down on grant street in brazil and take a long look at that rats nest. Children sitting on bikes smoking, all of them on welfare or state aid. Filthy dirty it's just ridiculous! Want to see what is causing the issues in Brazil you only have to look around on the first of the month. It's the ones born with their hands out thinking we owe them something. ABOLISH WELFARE!!! Then you will see the town clean up and vandalism end.

-- Posted by Simpletruths on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 10:28 AM

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