VANCOUVER – Several parks in the Vancouver area have seen a boost in nuisance crimes since Clark County commissioners dropped the entry fees.
The move was made last April to give families free access to six popular Vancouver parks. For Debbie Burch, it meant a new destination for a family outing.
“My whole family is here because we don’t have parking fees anymore,” she said. “It means a day of free family fun.”
Clark County deputies said they’ve noticed an increase in crimes at the parks since the fees were dropped, especially disorderly conduct problems. Park officials added that they’ve seen about a 20 percent increase in traffic as well.
At Lewisville Park, vandals have sprayed the area several times with graffiti. Crews have to clean it up and repaint every time, which can be costly.
“It’s unfortunate. Hopefully it won’t damage anything bad enough to for them to implement the fees again,” said park visitor Bill Bartel.
County commissioners said they were considering hiring additional security at the six parks but assured that they won’t bring back the fees.
Park officials have also urged volunteers to help pick up litter if they can.