Twin Falls Sees Increase in Vandalism During 2022
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX)-The City of Twin Falls has seen a noticeable increase of vandalism to both public and private property in just the last year. City Spokesman Josh Palmer said the problem seems to have increased exponentially in the last five years but, just this last year city maintenance crews have seen a considerable uptick in damage to public and some private spaces, "We don't know exactly why. There's certain asumptions, population growth being one of them. We have significantly larger number of visitors who are coming to Twin Falls too, we know that. Also brings more people to the area that may cause vandalism." Palmer said graffiti is the most visible of the damage and credits Twin Falls County Work crews with responding quickly to remove it. More substantial and costly damage has been done to park facilities like public restrooms.
"No park was completely exempt from some sort of damage this year," said Twin Falls Parks Superintendent Chance Munns, who just started his job ten months ago. He said many of his 11 full time employees have seen more damage this year than ever before. "A lot of the damage we saw, for the most part, was things that were easy to knock off walls, or break, were broken." Munns manages around 1,600 acres of parks and trails between the heavily visited Shoshone Falls Park to the small neighborhood parks in the various subdivisions. Munns and his crew have had to take time away from their regular maintenance tasks to work on vandalism repairs which has cost the city money, both in materials and man hours. Some facilities had to be shut down while crews waited for backlogged parts to arrive. Munns said in some areas cameras were installed that seems to have curbed incidents of vandalism. Palmer noted an increase in the homeless population that has resulted in damage that wasn't necessarily malicious in intent. Two large structure fires were sparked by people trying to stay warm with a fire this past winter. "We've seen the number of incidents rise and also just value of those incidents, the cost to either the public or to a business has escalated too," said Palmer. The public can help by reporting anything suspicious to police or report any vandalism or damage to the Parks and Recreation Department. "We see a value in parks and I know the community does too and we'd like to just emphasize that, right, that the community values these parks. They're a good place to both retreat to nature. Also, for recreational programing and public health and we'd like to see them continue and grow with the city as we increase in population, we'd like to see more parks be installed and and be taken care off," said Munns.