City of Harrison, Ark. park bathrooms vandalized 4 times in a span of 10 days

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 4:41 PM CST
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - In the last 10 days, vandals have hit the Wonder Willa public bathrooms four different times.

The vandals damaged steel partitions and broke dispensers off of the wall. Police estimate the damage at $4,000.

Since the Wonder Willa park opened less than two years ago vandalism has been an ongoing issue, particularly with the public restrooms. Back in July, Harrison Parks and Recreation staff installed multiple surveillance cameras around the park, which have been effective in catching those responsible for several different instances. The string of vandalism has the city of Harrison working to provide more security to the area.

“I think it’s really unfortunate, I mean this is a place for kids, and if a kid can’t go use the bathroom,” said Holly Dubuque, who says she takes her child to the park once or twice a week. “They have to use the bathroom often! Then, if they have to go you have to leave.”

“Mainly they’re just trashing and plugging up the commodes and whatever,” said Jerry Farmer, the director of Harrison Parks and Recreation. “It’s not like these vandals are even getting anything out of it. Nothing is stolen. There’s virtually nothing of value in the bathrooms. These are just senseless acts.”

Vandalism led to camera installation. Although they have been effective, Farmer says the park could use more security to get better resolution footage of certain areas. Farmer explained several people believe the homeless are involved in the vandalism, but that footage clearly depicts teenagers, likely between the ages of 15-23.

”It’s really unfortunate that we have to have cameras everywhere,” said Mayor Jerry Jackson. “But if that’s what we have to do to slow down crime and stop vandalism. That’s what we’re going to do and we’ll catch every single one.”

Harrison Police Chief Chris Graddy anticipates action against those responsible. With more projects in the works to invest money into the park, more security will follow.

”This spring we’ll be installing a new $250,000 splash pad just a matter of feet from these bathrooms, so at that time we’ll install additional cameras,” said Mayor Jackson.

”We’re looking at putting more cameras and we have another camera on order that we’ll put closer for closer surveillance and we’ll be able to see better resolution on people to identify,” said Farmer. “I think that will help tremendously on catching people. Also, I think if we start prosecuting too on people that will help slow it down.”

If you have any information about the recent string of vandalism you are asked to call the Harrison Police Department at (870)741-4636.

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