Our opinion: Make an example

Vandalism is too often thought of as a petty crime, something that just happens when bored people get restless…and stupid.

As both the Warren County School Board and the City of Warren can attest, it is not a petty crime, and stupid is no excuse.

Just recently three young men pleaded guilty to doing hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to Youngsville High School. They have already begun to feel the sting that can result from vandalism: spending time in the Warren County Jail and looking forward to lives tainted by one night of unbridled stupidity.

While the school district carries insurance to help pay for the repairs, at least a portion of those costs are ultimately paid by a community, perhaps not financially, but in other ways.

Likewise, the taxpayers of the City of Warren will ultimately foot the bill for its own crop of stupid people who have taken it upon themselves to damage public restrooms at parks around the city. The result of increasing vandalism at those facilities has resulted in their closing, making visitors to the parks the ultimate victims.

So, what does the city do?

As one councilman pointed out this week, locked restrooms are the same as no restrooms. If locking them is the only solution, the city might as well remove them.

The idea of video surveillance came up, but there are complications to that as well, not to mention fairly substantial costs.

May we suggest that ultimately some of these vandals will be caught and prosecuted based on the fact that if they are stupid enough to commit a senseless crime for the sheer thrill of it, they are stupid enough to be caught eventually. When that happens they should face severe consequences, jailed if they are old enough, provide financial compensation to city taxpayers, and perform public service to reimburse some of the inconvenience they have caused law-abiding park visitors.

Perhaps that public service could be done in a very public way, so that the perpetrator(s) can be recognized as persons who are “just that stupid.”