Police removed basketball hoops at popular park to curb crime

By Millaine Wells, Local 5 News

Published 06/19 2014 04:49PM

Updated 06/19 2014 07:19PM

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - The basketball courts at a popular Green Bay park are sitting empty during peak season.

That is because there are no hoops.          

"It was like somebody turned off a light switch and the problems dissipated over night" explains Green Bay Police Capt. Bill Bongle. "What we started to see was families and kids come back and start to use the park as it was meant to be".  

Capt. Bongle says removing the hoops at Fisk Park removed a growing nuisance in the community.

"For whatever reason the problem did not just shift over to another park. We tried something that we were not sure what was going to happen and it had a very positive consequence" he says.

Fisk Park had an extremely high police call volume last year when the courts were still operational.

Large fights broke out often times outnumbering officers ten to one.

"One of the things we did was re assign our neighborhood officers to different hours, so we made sure they were working during the peak times when this stuff was going on" Capt. Bongle says.

The Green Bay Police Gang Task Force also visited the park  to build relationships with the kids.

However, the problems escalated.

According to Capt. Bongle  "The most serious event was June 10th, last year when shots were fired in the park"

Because the majority of the issues happened on the courts police took down the hoops.

"Crimes happen in places where there are environmental factors that are favorable to them and when you alter those factors you reduce crime" he explains.

Community members we spoke with believe the park has calmed down enough in the last year to bring the courts back to life.

"We found out there were no basketball hoops and the kids were disappointed there were no hoops. They had brand new basketballs they wanted to break in" says Fisk Park user Kristin Saugstad. 

Capt. Bongle met today with the Green Bay Parks Department and tells us ultimately the decisions on the hoops will be left up to them.


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