Vandalism, disorderly conduct incidents at Aviation Park lead to stepped-up enforcement efforts

Published 7:21 pm Saturday, March 19, 2022

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The Kill Devil Hills Police Department has reported that for the past three months, incidents of disorderly conduct, vandalism, arson and other criminal mischief have occurred on a regular basis at Aviation Park. The incidents have resulted in over $2500 in damages.

Aviation Park is a centrally located park in Kill Devil Hills off Veterans Drive across from First Flight High School and is also known as the “skate park,” “frog pond” or the “turtle pond.” Aviation Park is busiest public park in the Town of Kill Devil Hills. A fifth-of-a-mile track around the pond is popular for fitness enthusiasts and casual strollers alike. Mary’s Paws Park, the fenced dog park, sees dozens of two- and four-legged visitors daily. The skateboard bowl is one of the largest and most popular in Dare County. All of these amenities and more are supported by public funds and free for everyone to enjoy, noted the press release from KDHPD.

“The cumulative effect of these incidents has diminished the enjoyment of the park for many people, created an unsafe atmosphere and cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars in repairs and labor,” stated the release. “There are security cameras at the park, however the perpetrators of these incidents know all of the blind spots and the cameras cannot be placed in the public restrooms where much of the damage occurs.”

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According to KDHPD, the town’s more passive mitigation efforts – such as signage and securing bathroom doors during the problem hours – have not helped resolve the issues.

“Unfortunately, this means a more proactive stance by the police department in enforcing public nuisance ordinances is necessary to address the problem,” stated the release. “Effective immediately, plain clothes officers will be in the park on a regular basis. Uniform officers will conduct more foot patrols in the area. Any individual, including students/juveniles, who are observed violating the law will be banned from Aviation Park for up to one year and possibly face criminal charges. This includes, but is not limited to, offenses such as underage possession of tobacco, tobacco use generally, vaping, littering, damage to property, disorderly conduct and affray. Park rules, such as designated areas for skateboards and use of the equipment in children’s playground by persons over 12, will also be enforced and violators will be banned from the park.”

KDHPD also noted that “Aviation Park is owned and operated by the Town of Kill Devil Hills and the Town reserves the right to limit access to places and persons in the park at any time through its agents.”

Those witnessing acts of destruction, vandalism or disorderly behavior are encouraged to call the Dare Central non-emergency number at 252-473-3444 and request an officer to respond.