Reading this Wall Street Journal piece about “pranksters” causing “mischief” in Detroit’s abandonded buildings totally pissed me off.
It sounded more like wanton destruction for the sake of destruction to me.
The article details how this group used sledgehammers to break down this wall and push a truck out of a fourth story window in the old Packard plant (a site we’ve previously highlighted on this blog). They even videotaped their caper.
I don’t fault people for wanting to go inside and explore these old structures – I’ve done it myself. But wrecking walls? Setting fires?
“Karen Nagher seethes when she hears about such capers” according to the Journal story. “Executive director of Preservation Wayne, a nonprofit organization that holds out hope for even the most forlorn buildings, Ms. Nagher says it infuriates her that people come from ‘all over the world’ to poke around Detroit. ‘Piece by piece, they’re disassembling those buildings, making it harder and harder to restore them,’ she says.”
I guess people who do this would say the condition of the buildings is almost encouraging their actions. The story quoted one as saying, “If you decide you want to push a dump truck out of a window, this is the place to do it.”
And not surprisingly, Detroit police and firefighters don’t have the time or the manpower to care about people poking around abandonded buildings.
The Journal explains, “Those who prowl Detroit’s vacant buildings are largely unimpeded. Many live in the suburbs but come here for the adventure, knowing that they’re unlikely to get caught….Busy enough with occupied buildings, police and fire crews aren’t able to do much to protect abandoned sites like the Packard plant or people who venture into them. The Detroit Fire Department considers the factory too unstable to enter and fights fires only from the outside. The city’s Police Department doesn’t time have the resources to deal with people rummaging around abandoned buildings, and the onus is on building owners anyway, says John Roach, a spokesman.”
What do you think?