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Ogden City offering reward for info leading to arrest of park vandals

By Ryan Aston - | May 15, 2024

Ryan Aston, Standard-Examiner

The restrooms at Ogden's Lester Park, pictured Wednesday, May 15, 2024, have been closed amid an increased incidence of vandalism at city parks.

OGDEN — Following a recent uptick of vandalism and graffiti at its public parks, Ogden City is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those who are responsible for causing the damage.

The Ogden City Police Department announced that it was seeking public assistance regarding the vandalism and that the reward was being offered via Facebook this week.

“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,” Lt. Will Farr said Wednesday of the decision to offer a reward. “We’re just trying to engage the community and (trying) 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.”

The nature and location of the damage caused in the parks has been variable and widespread. Restrooms, playground equipment, pavilions and more have been hit. In addition to the graffiti that has been found at the parks, sinks and toilets have been destroyed, wiring has been stripped and doors/locks have been damaged.

Cameras that were installed to monitor parks have been similarly vandalized and drug paraphernalia also has been found.

Ryan Aston, Standard-Examiner

As pictured Wednesday, May 15, 2024, mobile cameras have been installed at some of Ogden's city parks amid an increased incidence of vandalism.

“Things are being done to the facilities that make them unsanitary for the public to be able to use,” said Ogden City’s public services director, Justin Anderson.

“More than half” of Ogden’s 47 parks have experienced vandalism, Anderson added. Their clean-up and repair has become a daily struggle for city employees.

“Our personnel work really hard,” Anderson said. “They take great pride in keeping our parks open, operational and for everyone to be able to use. So, it comes at a mental cost, I think, to our personnel of having to go day after day and redo the same thing over and over.”

Anderson estimates that the daily cost incurred for repairs and personnel time is in the thousands, and some parks are being vandalized more frequently than others.

“Our No. 1 is probably Lester Park right now,” Anderson said. “And it’s not just daily; it seems like it’s almost hourly that once we get things cleaned up and we mobilize somewhere else that we’re seeing issues happen.”

Police are encouraging citizens to contact them in the event that they encounter vandalism at city parks.

“If you see something happening immediately, call our emergency number at 911,” Farr said. “If you see something that’s been tagged or that there’s vandalism that has occurred previously, we ask that you call our non-emergency number or the dispatch number.”

People with information about what is occurring also can contact OPD Investigations at 801-629-8228.

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