When pranks and "destructive fun" go over the line, it’s not fun — it’s a crime. Broken glass, graffiti, theft, arson, willful damage, and on-site substance abuse are all types of problems the City of Yankton Parks Department would like citizens’ help in stopping.

These and other acts of vandalism are deliberate assaults on private and public property in Yankton. They cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair and they degrade our efforts to provide high quality parks and facilities.

Parks, trails, cemetery, community buildings and other shared public places are the biggest targets of vandalism. Local neighbors and park/trail users are asked to contact the police department when vandalism is taking place so the criminals can be apprehended. Citizens’ help is needed to stop vandalism in public places in the community.

If you think vandalism isn’t your problem, think again. Here are a few reasons why vandalism hurts everyone.

• Vandalism destroys what your tax dollars have created. Each year vandals destroy thousands of dollars’ worth of park facilities and equipment funded by tax dollars. A few minutes of destructive "fun" can add up to huge losses for our City’s parks.

• Vandalism takes dollars away from recreational programs and facilities. Replacing destroyed trees, benches, picnic tables, removing or painting over graffiti, all involve department labor and material costs. The money that could be spent on new amenities and programs is spent on repairing vandalized items.

• Vandalism is not cool. Damaging public property through vandalism is both cowardly and not cool. Individuals who tag or use spray paint for artistic expression on public property are breaking the law and are no "cooler" than the person who breaks a window, destroys a young tree, or pulls down a basketball hoop on purpose. Use peer pressure to encourage people to not vandalize public property.

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Help Stop Vandalism

Here’s what you can do to help prevent and address vandalism.

— Always call 9-1-1 to report any crime in progress, including vandalism.

— If you have information about a crime that has occurred in a park, but that does not require an immediate police response, call 605-668-5210.

— Finally, if you want to remain anonymous, you may want to call Yankton Crime Stoppers at (605) 665-4440. Each caller is assigned a code number and not asked for their name for the purpose of insuring anonymity.

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