LOCAL NEWS

Ogden offers $1,000 reward for info leading to arrest in park vandalism cases

May 15, 2024, 1:31 PM | Updated: 7:11 pm

OGDEN — Ogden is offering $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest of any individual involved in vandalism in Ogden parks.

“Right now, graffiti and damage done to our public restrooms in our parks are hurting our city,” a release from police stated.

City leaders said they saw an “alarming” uptick in acts of vandalism beginning in April when the weather started to warm up and the parks were fully opened.

“We have doors being vandalized, we have toilets being destroyed, we have sinks being destroyed,” said Ogden public services director Justin Anderson. “We have graffiti getting tagged all over. And really, things are being done to the facilities that make them unsanitary for the public to be able to use.”

Anderson estimated that about half of the city’s 47 parks have been vandalized. Lester Park has the most vandalism, so officials closed the park restrooms there.

“It’s not just daily, it almost seems like it’s almost hourly that, once we get things cleaned up and we mobilize somewhere else, that we’re seeing issues happen,” he said.

Anderson said there are only so many employees who can clean up and repair the damages, and it’s costing thousands of dollars for vandalism in Ogden parks.

“It also comes at a cost of not being able to go do other things like mowing our parks, taking care of other things that are not happening because we are constantly just dealing with the problems of vandalism going on of parks,” he said.

Ogden city officials allowed KSL cameras inside a vandalized restroom at High Adventure Park. The door frame was damaged, the bathroom mirror was stolen, the urinal was smashed with a rock, individuals had shattered the windows, there was graffiti on the bathroom stall and wall, the soap dispenser was ripped off, and the faucet was broken.

Ogden police are involved

“We’ve seen wiring that’s been stripped, we’ve seen different locks that have been taken out, and we’ve even seen some of the camera systems that we’ve installed have been damaged and vandalized,” said Lt. Will Farr with Ogden City Police Department.

Anderson said it’s likely they will temporarily close two more park bathrooms. The problem has forced the city to bring in portable bathrooms for some events.

“We need to be able to get parts and there are certain parts that we have to special order in to be able to appropriately lock and maintain the facility,” he said. “We’re waiting for those parts to get in. And then we’re also needing to catch up on some other duties we haven’t been able to get to.”

Police put cameras in some of the parks because of the vandalism.

“We are really trying to do our best to be able to use the cameras as like a manpower multiplier to be able to keep an eye on the parks,” Farr said.

He said some of the cameras can and have been moved to different locations. Ogden officials said they can’t trace the damage to any one group.

“This isn’t just like a homeless problem,” Anderson said. “This really is just being mistreated through an entire spectrum.”

He encouraged parents to speak with their children about the consequences that come with vandalism. Now, they’re asking the community to report anything they see.

To find individuals responsible for the damage, the city of Ogden is offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the prosecution or arrest of any individual involved in graffiti or vandalism, especially pertaining to public bathrooms.

“We are really at a point where we’ve done a lot of brainstorming and trying to find out what it is that’s going to help us to be able to fix this problem,” Farr said. “We’re just trying to engage the community and try to get the people around the community involved and really, as a thank you to those individuals that could reach out and help us to help them in this area.”

Ogden and police ask for help

Police urged residents to use their eyes and ears to help combat vandalism in local parks and to reach out to law enforcement if they noticed any suspicious activity.

“If you see someone specifically doing something in the park that’s vandalism, don’t confront them, don’t go up to them, but please give us a call,” Farr said. “If you see something happening immediately, call our emergency number, 911.”

If you have any information regarding these crimes, contact Ogden Police Investigations at (801) 629-8228.

If you have any information about previous graffiti or vandalism that has occurred in Ogden parks, please contact the Community Policing Bureau at (801) 629-8035.

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Ogden offers $1,000 reward for info leading to arrest in park vandalism cases