OUR SAY: Taking a-fence at vandalism means trying to find solutions

FIXING vandalism at the Orange Hockey Fields costs money, but there is a principle involved. 

For years children and adults alike have destroyed fences, windows, seating and smashed CCTV cameras within a day of them being erected and, usually, after everything is fixed the perpetrators come through and destroy it all again. 

But what would happen if people did nothing about it?

What would happen if Orange councillors and  Hockey Association members simply gave up?

Orange would lose a valuable sporting field and valuable sporting community and it would mean the vandals had won. 

Every year NSW state hockey tournaments come through Orange and games are played over days at the Moad Street fields and those tournaments bring thousands of tourists every time, who spend money in the city’s cafes, restaurants, shops and hotels. 

The grounds are maintained by volunteers who come through almost daily and clean up to make sure young children who have training after school are not put in danger from broken glass or needles on the synthetic turf. 

It is people like those volunteers who make the field worth fighting for and worth reclaiming every time a young vandal comes through to destroy them out of malice or plain boredom. 

STORY: $35,000 to protect hockey players and property

But it becomes more sinister when those vandals start attacking the players. 

In the past, it has been reported, that teenagers have taken to swearing at players and in some cases throwing rocks at them but that still does not mean people should give up the fight. 

If the games are stopped then the criminals win.

So with that in mind, $35,000 worth of fencing that will not only protect the grounds but also, hopefully, protect the hockey players is worth every dollar. 

Based on past experiences the school-type fencing will not necessarily act as a deterrent but perhaps a challenge for the young vandals.

The law must act as a deterrent and when these vandals and people who assault players are caught they need to be dealt with in the court system.

Then the message might get through. 

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