Passing motorists and hikers are asked to watch out for criminal activity at Safety City in Red Deer after the compound was hit by several incidents of vandalism this spring.
The latest damage was caused to “Sparky’s House,” the centre of Safety City’s fire prevention program for elementary school-aged children.
Safety City’s director Ryan McLeod said he had noticed some unusual objects lying in the road one morning and discovered someone had been throwing these peg-like projectiles over the fence at the small buildings inside Safety City’s perimeter fence.
As a result, three windows were broken on Sparky’s House. These are now in the process of being replaced as schools keep arriving for end-of-year field trips.
Earlier this spring, McLeod had spotted spray-painted graffiti tags on a shed-sized barn structure inside the compound.
“We’re obviously very upset,” added McLeod, who feels it’s a shame that the mini buildings, used for teaching youngsters important lessons about safety, have become targets for vandals.
Through Safety City’s Facebook page, society members have asked community members to keep an eye out for suspicious activity around Safety City: “Glance our way as you drive past. If you walk the trails feel free to walk around our perimeter, and if you see anything suspicious report it to the RCMP or to our office so we can add it to the report. Thank you Red Deerians for helping to look out for us!”
Hundreds of local school children come through Safety City every May and June to learn about fire, farm, bike, traffic and pedestrian safety.
McLeod said safety day camps are operated there throughout July and August from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with after-camp child care also available. The facilities are also rented for birthday parties and other special events.
Safety City is owned by the province and operated by a non-profit society. While it’s mostly operational during the warm months, McLeod noted there’s a person on site during the winter — but one individual can’t stay on top of everything. Security cameras are, therefore, being installed to help police crackdown on future perpetrators.