It’s an issue that is an all to common part of Barton County Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips’ bi-weekly departmental update to the County Commission. Amongst the other activities is often listed the effort involved in replacing signs, particularly stop signs, destroyed by vandals.
It was no different Monday morning. It was noted that sign crews were kept busy on replacing and repairing vandalized stop signs. The vandals used an ax in cutting the posts down after pulling the signs from the ground. Six signs were ran over and broken off.
Two 911 locator signs were also replaced due to vandalism.
That seems like an awful lot of violence and an awful lot of effort spent destroying public property.
Between the cost of the marker, the post, the labor and the overtime, they can cost up to $150 each to replace. Then there’s the inconvenience of having to trek out to the farthest reaches of the county to do the work.
This is a serious problem that costs the county thousands of dollars annually.
But, there is more than money and time involved. It is also a matter of safety and the law.
Rural intersections are dangerous enough, even with stop signs in place. They can be even more treacherous without them.
In fact, the person who damaged a sign can be held liable for an accident that occurs at the location where a sign had been destroyed.
It is sad that the perpetrators of these crimes can’t find a positive outlet for this energy. Imagine the good they could do.
But, in the meantime, anyone who witnesses such vandalism or has information about it should call the authorities. Such acts can put us all at risk.