There are some amazing benefits to skateboard parks and not all of them are about having fun and making cool new friends.
One of the most unexpected benefits to be found when new skateboard parks are built is that this can help to reduce local crime levels. This might sound like wishful thinking but the evidence that these parks are good for the community can be found in many different parts of the world.
For example, a troubled neighborhood in the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh reported a notable decrease in problems and calls to the police after opening a new park a while ago. Local authorities pointed out the importance of having the people who are going to use the park heavily involved in the planning process from the start. It has also been suggested that the massive early success of the park could help push through plans for a much bigger skateboard park in the city.
Tony Hawk Already Knew It
The success of this new park in cutting local crime levels wouldn’t as a surprise to anyone who read the 2009 Law Enforcement Study from the Tony Hawk Foundation. One of the best statistics to come out of this study is that the majority of law enforcement officers questioned stated a new skateboard park in their area had made a positive impact on the community. In fact, 92% of them felt that their local park was an asset to the community.
85% of the police officers surveyed had also noted a significant decrease in the number of complaints made to them by local residents and business owners. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that 91% of them reported no major issues with crime or safety at their parks.
Back in the UK, Dorchester is another city that has seen the benefits of building a new skatepark. In this case, the number of reports of anti-social behavior in the city fell by 19% after the new park was opened. Indeed, across the area surrounding the park the fall was even more dramatic, at 33%. The local police commander was quoted at the time as saying that the young people who enjoy the facility are very good at policing it for themselves.
4 Years and Not a Single Fight
Another terrific example from the UK comes with the inspiring story of the big indoor skatepark built in Dumbarton. This facility has been credited with cutting local youth crime by a third. The man who built it did so without any government funding, with the aim of giving his kids somewhere safe to play. He reported 4 years after the opening that there had never been a fight there.
The good news is that the benefits of skateboard parks are now becoming more obvious to many more people. This is one of the reasons why we are now seeing more plans for new parks to pop up all over the world. For instance, in Canada Calgary now has plans for 3 new parks to keep the local sports fans happy.
A new park was delivered in Grant Park in Chicago at the end of 2014. While it is early days for judging its impact on the community, it has certainly been warmly welcomed by those who live there. Equally, the last year or two has seen new parks built in Nambour in Australia, Cardiff in Wales, Barcelona in Spain and many other parts of the planet.
An Inspirational True Story
So, what if the residents of a city want to get the benefits of a new skateboard park but the authorities don’t seem to keen to move forward with the plans? In this case, the following inspirational video could be exactly what they need to see.
This is the true tale of how Ellen Christopher and other local residents battled hard to get a new park built in Florida. It wasn’t easy but her battle against the discrimination faced by skaters can help anyone looking to get a park built.
In the end, the new park she wanted so badly got built. This is the same result that can be achieved by anyone who is determined to get a new park in their home city. Whether the overall aim is to keep the kids safe and entertained, to decrease crime levels or to give the place a new attraction, this is something that can do the job perfectly.
A skateboard park can be the best thing to happen to a neighborhood, as we have already seen in various parts of the world. Could your city be improved by building a new one?