Midvale City and BLM each address bathroom vandalism issues
MIDVALE, Utah – Whether it’s showing up on Tik Tok at school or destroying a public bathroom in a park, bathroom vandalism, for some strange reason, seems to be on the rise .
Not only does this leave cleaning crews with a complete mess to fix, but taxpayers end up footing the bill.
Take Midvale City Park, for example.
Thursday afternoon, the families enjoyed a beautiful evening with a little autumnal freshness in the air.
A mom walked to one of the bathrooms with her young daughter, but when she pushed open the door, she didn’t move.
What she didn’t know was that the washrooms were closed for the season on Monday. Usually they don’t close for two weeks.
Mother or daughter (or both) should be holding it instead, thanks to a recent wave of vandalism.
“In the last few weeks it’s really picked up,” said Matt Dahl, Midvale City manager.
Dahl explained that their park’s bathrooms were vandalized in the spring, just after they reopened for spring and summer in the wake of the COVID-19 shutdown. But, things finally calmed down and they had no problems the rest of the summer. Then all of a sudden this fall, he said, the vandalism escalated again.
And this time he described how the vandalism was worse than what they have seen in the past.
“It breaks windows, destroys some fixtures in bathrooms and does other inappropriate things in there,” Dahl described. Blasphemies were spray painted on the interior and exterior walls.
Perhaps the grossest and most confusing part is what the park staff found on the walls and the floor.
“People are, uh, yeah… things like feces on the walls,” Dahl said.
It doesn’t sound like fun to clean up.
The Bureau of Land Management is aware of this struggle, after a person or persons destroyed the Jericho bathroom in Little Sahara last week, causing $ 8,000 in damage.
“This vandalism included damage to our toilets and associated plumbing, shattered windows, shattered mirrors and a lot of explicit graffiti, with explicit images and hate speech,” said Hannah Lenkowski, business specialist. of BLM.
The timing is curious, as the Tik Tok “sneaky lick” trend is wreaking havoc in school bathrooms across the country, including in Utah. The trend involves teens filming themselves taking things (“licking” or breaking them) and putting them in their backpacks. The videos turned into the theft of large objects like toilets, ending with some bathrooms being completely destroyed.
READ: Utah schools crack down after Tik Tok trend of ‘sneaky licks’ leaves property destroyed
School districts have sent warning emails and letters to parents urging them to tell their children to stop. Murray High School has started charging for football games and has threatened to cancel activities if they continue. Hunter High School has locked some bathrooms and removed others.
Not to mention that vandalism is a crime and school districts say law enforcement is ready to prosecute.
But with the Midvale and Jericho bathrooms being public places to relieve themselves, Lenkowski and Dahl have indicated that the connection appears to be a stretch to be made without knowing who vandalized the bathrooms, or why.
“We’ve heard about the Tik Tok challenge,” Lenkowski said. “At the moment, we don’t think this is related to that. That being said, since it is under investigation, we may find out more.”
All they know is that someone or a group is behind the destruction in both of these cases.
And they ruined it for anyone who needs a bathroom break as people enjoy a beautiful fall evening in Midvale City Park.
Lenkowski said Jericho’s restroom is closed until further notice and that they have brought pot-o-pots. The BLM offers a reward. Anyone with information is asked to call BLM law enforcement at 1-800-637-9152.
Dahl said they plan to install security cameras outside bathrooms in the spring. He said they still plan to open the washroom for scheduled events only.