Some glass-half-full kind of people have installed free ping-pong tables in several ill-reputed parks, precisely to make a change in the crowd who comes to those parks. But there is some evidence that it has actually brought down the crime rates in those areas. So is ping-pong this miracle worker for bad neighborhoods?
Hing Hay Park from Chinatown was the very first one in this series of park ping-pong tables. As the members from the community group who raised the money to buy and install them see the matter, the ping pong tables are “activating” parks.
In their view, playing ping-pong is an activity associated with a calm crime-less lifestyle. And putting such a symbol in a park filled with beer binge drinkers, junkies, drug dealers, homeless people and every once in a while, some prostitutes, might help change the crowd patterns a bit.
And they seemed to believe enough to make it happen . The registered crimes associated with the Hing Hay Park location have gone down from 46 in 2009 to just 16 in 2014. And they think that while the ping pong tables may not have achieved this single-handedly, they must have played a big role in the whole matter.
But if you think about it, bringing squeaky clean people who love ping-pong to a park that is still filled with somewhat dubious characters, might actually lead to trouble. But somehow, that hasn’t been documented just yet.
Adding a ping-pong table to a park where people can come and play for free is a delightful idea, but thinking that it might be able to bring down crime rates is somewhere on the thin line between farfetched and downright offending.
Being positive is always the right path and it has the potential to get you to very high places, but this ping-pong theory might not sound as good to the people who wreck their brains and every so often their knees to find ways to keep people safe.
Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park was the most recent ones to have one of these miracle ping-pong tables installed. Adrienne Caver-Hall, who made it possible that the table makes it to this particular park thinks that it has the ability to change people’s perception about parks, specifically on their reputation of being “dark and unsafe”.
It remains to be seen if this new ping-pong table can work its magic on Cal Anderson Park and “activate” it into a fun-filled family-friendly environment again.
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