Cops Love Skateparks

Study shows strong support among law enforcement for public skateparks.

"I can honestly say that, based on my 27 years of police work, if you can keep kids busy like the skatepark has done, you have completely prevented a future adult offender."
—Massachusetts Police Sergeant
2/9/10 (Vista, CA) — In a survey of law-enforcement officials from across the U.S., officers report that public skateparks have had a positive impact on youth in their communities, contributed to a reduction in skate-related trespassing, and facilitated more positive interaction between cops and kids.

Conducted by the Tony Hawk Foundation in 2009, over 100 officers were interviewed from communities where the Foundation has contributed to establishing a free, public skatepark. Ninety percent responded favorably when asked if they considered their skatepark an important community asset. Most also reported that they’ve had no major incidents at their skateparks, and almost half credit the skatepark for reducing incidents of youth crime in their communities.

The key to the success of their skateparks, many reported, is a visible, accessible location. Forty percent of officers interviewed also said that the skatepark provides a “common ground” where they can visit and engage the skaters in a positive setting, helping the officers better connect with the youth of their communities.

At a time when municipal budgets are as tight as ever and public projects struggle for funding, the Tony Hawk Foundation continues its commitment to helping create free, quality public skateparks in low-income communities. Applications for its Spring 2010 Skatepark Grant season are currently being accepted.

Since 2002 the Tony Hawk Foundation has been assisting communities across the U.S. in their pursuit of safe, sanctioned places for their youth to skate. In the intervening eight years the Foundation has provided technical assistance and guidance to more than 1,500 communities, and awarded more than $3.1-million in grants to help build 444 skateparks.

This Spring the Foundation Board of Directors will convene to review the applications and select the most qualified candidates for grants, which range from $5,000 to $25,000. Among their considerations will be the proximity of the skatepark to low-income communities with large numbers of at-risk youth, demonstration of strong community support for the project, evidence that the local skaters themselves are at the core of the effort to build the park, a commitment to building an ambitious and durable skatepark, and an indication that the group is capable of continuing the hard work of fundraising and ensuring that the skatepark will meet the needs of the skaters.

Only federally registered nonprofit organizations, municipalities, or public agencies may apply for grants from the Tony Hawk Foundation. The deadline to complete applications is March 1, 2010. View complete details and application criteria.