Costs of vandalism add up for city
Burning down a portable toilet or a slide might seem like fun. But someone's got to foot the bill and that's when the cheap thrills get expensive.
Vandalism is anything but cheap. It costs taxpayers and private businesses in Rosemount thousands of dollars a year.
Take the Welcome to Rosemount sign on Highway 55 on which a vandal recently replaced the word Rosemount with Hastings. Senior planner Eric Zweber said the quote to fix that sign was $1,400. While insurance will cover most of that cost, the city will have to pay a deductible.
The city had would-be vandals in mind when they purchased the Welcome to Rosemount signs that were installed in 2009. Zweber said the signs are made of aluminum and can easily be painted over and restored. Had the city gone with the more common plastic signs, it probably would have cost more, he said.
Vandals hit city property fairly regularly. Rosemount Parks and Recreation director Dan Schultz said while it's not a weekly occurrence it happens often enough.
"We plan for it and expect it," said Schultz.
Schultz said the most frequent types of vandalism in the parks are spray painting and breaking things. Although in recent years he said vandals have burned down a portable toilets and a slide, which have been expensive to fix.
Most of the clean up is done by the public works department. The department has special equipment to deal with paint and other types of graffiti.
Schultz said the city budgets some money for vandalism cost each year. He said most of the cost comes out a fund for miscellaneous repairs. Depending on the damage and where it's done, insurance handles some of the costs as well.
Occasionally, Schultz said, the city will receive restitution from vandals who are caught. That money covers at least some of the costs.
In 2009 police reports of vandalism increased 10.45 percent - from 201 in 2008 to 222. That number includes all reports on private and city property.