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Re: Fencing


The city of Seattle's P-Patch Program locks none of our gardens.  As state prior it does not mean we have no problems but it goes a LONG way to show our community gardening program as an open space resource throughout the city.  There is a certain amount of letting go that must happen since some loss is inevitable but that said I think the key to your issue is to find ways that the very people that could do the vandalism and theft are involved and work more toward protecting your resource.  You want them to feel vested, not locked out.

The following are some additional strategies we share with our gardens to curb theft, etc...self policing is a very important element along with working with local block watches and/or community police teams.

Theft/Vandalism/Illegal dumping
From time to time area gardens are affected by these adverse elements; and its sources can come from within or outside the garden.   Practicing prevention is the first step in curbing these activities.
| Theft  
If you wish to share your produce/flowers, please pick it and give it.  Don't "invite" different people from the neighborhood (kids too) in to pick something when you aren't there.  Several problems can arise from doing this.  Other people may conclude they can pick too.  People from outside the garden often don't understand that next year someone else might be gardening your plot and that person won't want uninvited picking.  Misunderstandings occur about the boundaries of your plot and where it is or is not OK to pick.  And finally, what may be a one time or limited offer from you is sometimes taken as an open invitation.  
Keep your plot well harvested.  A common excuse given by thieves is "there sure is a lot of food going to waste here".  If someone's plot looks like it has not been harvested in a while, a simple reminder call could be in order; if they can't, offer to glean and take the fruit to the nearest food bank. 
Get to know your garden neighbors and encourage reporting of illegal activities.  P-Patch program staff can help with signs.  Encourage gardeners to get to know other gardeners.  Consider hiding vegetables in the design of your garden by placing desirable plants in less visible location and use perennials as cover.  It helps to plant more vegetables than you need.  These measures should reduce the amount of theft, yet some sites may find an organized, continuous problem.  Collective actions may need to happen and in this case it should be reported to the police. 

If you observe theft or vandalism in the garden, first call 911.  Get a good description of person or vehicle if possible.  If the person is caught in the act have police issue a "No Trespass" card when they arrive.  Get the incident report number and be sure to post information for other gardeners to see. If you find vandalism and/or theft after the fact you can still report it to the police and get an incident number.  Sometimes if you're having on-going problems it is good to let the police know you're having problems so they can try and do more visits to the site.  See attachment: Safety, Theft and Vandalism in Garden for further strategies and contact information.

The following are garden examples of dealing with theft.
Garden Theft Can Have Consequences
by Bruce Swee-Interbay P-Patch
It's early in the day, when nature is at peace with the world.  The plants are awaiting their gardeners hand for grooming and nurturing.  Suddenly an unseen hand rips the plant from the earth, its prized features cut out.  Hours later, the gardener discovers the loss.  The stolen plants have left frustration and anger, labor wasted, and the gardener feeling violated.

This happens often in the P-Patch community.  The standard official recourse is to file a police report, which leads to limited results.  It's easy to lay blame and point fingers, and if this is your solution, you can expect a lot more of the same in the future.  Recently Interbay, achieved a more satisfying result.

With information gathered from other gardeners, we determined when the most likely time our thief might show.  His features were identified along with his means of transportation.  Supplied with binoculars, camera, and cell phone, I positioned my car outside the garden.  I waited and waited.  When he arrived, I immediately called the police, then sat back and watched the satisfying results unfold.  He was caught red handed.  I managed to photograph the man, and post his picture in the garden.  His photo, initiated countless other incidents involving our gardeners and this individual.  The lesson for us was loud and clear, COMMUNICATE.  By bringing together assorted information, we discovered we knew far more than we realized.  Assist your P-Patch community and report any incident, large or small to leadership.

We found out that it is important if you catch the thief to ask the officer to issue a "trespass card".  Some officers will do so without being asked, while others do not.  It is important that this be done so that a record is created on the police computer system.  


Thanks for your time,
Sandy Pernitz
Community Garden Coordinator
P-Patch Program/Dept. of Neighborhoods
"To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower.  Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and sierenity in an hour."  William Blake
We have moved! NEW ADDDRESS
Department of Neighborhoods
700 5th Avenue Suite 1700
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649
sandy.pernitz@seattle.gov
206-684-0284


>>> eliz <eak@grandecom.net> 10/22 6:06 PM >>>
Are there any community gardens who have not had to put up a fence for 
security?  We are building a community garden behind a church in our 
predominantly low-income neighborhood. We were hoping to avoid putting 
up a fence as many people use the site as a short-cut to school, library 
and businesses. With very little out there so far, we have already 
experienced some vandalism.  Any suggestions?

Elizabeth
Austin, Texas


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______________________________________________________
The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription:  https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden





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