Do Ping Pong Tables Deter Criminals?
POSTED On August 25th 2016
Seattle has started to use Ping Pong tables to deter criminals in its parks. "We have a lot of areas in parks where people are using it as an open-air drug market," said Adrienne Caver-Hall from the Parks Department in Seattle. She is helping to lead the city's newest initiative to clean up its parks to make them safer for family and communal activities. She has installed ping pong tables in at least five parks around the city.
A Strong, Weatherproof Ping Pong Table
Adrienne has installed mostly Cornilleau Pro 510 tables due to their resilience and ability to stand up to the harsh weather conditions that are common in Seattle. These tables are robust and come with a net that is hard and weatherproof. Traditional tables with tops built of MDF will not stand up to moisture and temperature changes. It's only a matter of time before a traditional MDF table will warp or crack and pretty much become unusable if used outside.
Crime Declines as Ping Pong Tables Are Installed
According to police data, the installation of ping pong tables has coincided with dramatically lower levels of crime in Seattle's parks. For instance, in the Hing Hay Park in Chinatown crime incidents have gone down nearly 70% since ping pong tables 6 years ago. Te Seattle Police Department suggests that other parks have also seen the number of crimes decline in parks where ping pong tables have been installed.
When asked about Hing Hay Park in Chinatown six years ago, Chinatown International District Preservation & Development Authority director, Maiko Winkler-Chin, said that the park has changed dramatically for the better. She said "It just did not feel all that safe, it didn't feel inviting, it didn't feel welcoming, Winkler-Chin told KING. And why would you come here other than to just sit?".
The park had been a common place for drugs and prostitution six years ago but things have changed a lot since then. Maiko added "Ping pong brings people to a neighborhood, to space. If there's a lot of positive activity, some of the negative stuff doesn't want to be here".