In the last six to eight months, the City of Oakley Parks and Landscape Division has seen vandalism, including graffiti, increase markedly. This has been an almost weekly occurrence. This week vandals (reportedly three neighborhood youths with bats) caused an estimated $1,200 worth of damage in Shady Oak Park breaking close to 50 landscape irrigation heads. Oakley Police are following up on a strong lead. Vandals also sprayed graffiti on fences along Main Street near Shady Oak Drive causing approximately $500 in removal costs.
The trend of abnormally aggressive vandalism is troubling. Recent vandalism has included individuals driving onto wet park turf and play fields, spinning circles, creating ruts and damaging turf and irrigation heads at six parks; large slits were cut into the canvas shade structures with knives at several parks; a park light pole and fixture was pulled down and another cut down at Creekside Park; gang graffiti and obscenities are routinely written on park play equipment, picnic tables, fences, inside restrooms at numerous park locations; a fire was started in one restroom at Crockett Park; unsupervised children for several days put bark in the toilets and urinal at Laurel Ball fields causing major plumbing issues; theft of new plants and trees from newly landscaped street medians; numerous vandalized trees, tree stakes and irrigation heads; just to name some of the problems, including drug activity. All of these illegal and inappropriate activities have taken a toll on the limited resources that the Public Works Department has in making repairs, clean up, and in many cases replacement of facilities damaged as result of the vandalism.
The Oakley Parks and Landscape Division and the entire Department takes pride in being the caretaker for providing quality parks and recreation facilities for residents to enjoy, but these senseless acts are not only costly, but also difficult to apprehend the individuals who are responsible for these acts.
The Public Works Department, in response to this on‐going vandalism problem and in
coordination with Police Department, is proposing as part of the FY 2014‐15 budget to
install digital surveillance cameras at City parks. Currently older analog cameras
(donated to the City) are being used in a few City parks, but they are only effective
during daylight and spotting activity at close range. The recording from these older
cameras have not been useful in identifying any of the individuals who vandalized City
parks. The proposed digital surveillance cameras will offer 24/7 documentation of
activities at the parks and the recorded activities will be available real time for view by
Police and Public Works Department staff. This project, if funded and approved by the
Council, will go a long way towards turning the tide against illicit activities at the park
and a big step towards identifying and apprehending the individuals who cause all this
damage. These new digital surveillance cameras have been recently installed in front of
the plaza by the Republic of Cake building and the new ACE Hardware shopping
center parking lot.