At the most recent Parks and Recreation meeting, recent damage to fields at the Boyer Avenue Recreational Complex caused by some vehicles driving in the snow was discussed by Councilman Steven Furgione.
“A couple of snowstorms ago, it looks like somebody went out there with a truck and did some pretty extensive damage to the turf … the chief was alerted; everyone, I think, on council is aware of it, as far as the damage goes. The chief is stepping up patrols out there,” Furgione told the commission.
After Furgione spoke, Parks and Recreation Commission Chairperson Lou Cappuccio commented on the damage.
“If we know who does this kind of stuff, shouldn’t they be responsible for paying for the damage? Shouldn’t they be prosecuted? Shouldn’t their parents be prosecuted if they’re not old enough? What’s going to happen here? … They’re going to stop the fields from being played on, they’re going to ruin the drip irrigation, and we’re going to sit back here and just talk about it? We need to take action. This was damage done to our taxpayer money for our children to play on, and it should be taken care of in the right direction,” Cappuccio said.
Cappuccio and Furgione are right. Action should be taken; and informing the council and the chief of police is a good first step toward stopping future problems at the Boyer Avenue Recreational Complex. Stepping up police patrols makes sense. The next step, of course, is permanent cameras being installed to conduct surveillance, particularly when most of the fields are not in use, such as nighttime hours.
Cameras could help identify the people who cause damage to the fields—creating evidence that leads to arrests. Arrests and firm punishments will send a message to everyone in the community that Hammonton will not allow people to destroy public property. We recommend the town invest in cameras that can be used during the nighttime and overnight hours daily—not when the fields are in use—and that signs be posted in the Boyer Avenue Recreational Area making it clear that these surveillance cameras are in use. Those steps should help deter people from causing problems in the park area.