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Gary and Hammond mayors respond to recent vandalism

City of Gary Mayor's Office Facebook page

The mayors of the Region's two largest cities are trying to crack down on vandalism.

On social media, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. said he's closing the Martin Luther King Park basketball courts, after the courts' benches were vandalized for a second time in two weeks. He says they'll remain closed "until the vandals have been identified and turned into the Hammond Police [Department]."

The basketball courts were previously closed in 2022 after multiple shootings. At one point, McDermott threatened to convert them to pickleball courts if violence didn't stop.

Meanwhile in Gary, Mayor Eddie Melton says City Hall and the statue of former mayor Richard Hatcher were defaced with spray paint Wednesday night.

In a statement, Melton said, "It’s a disgrace that anyone would come to disrespect City Hall, a place where we conduct business and serve the people of Gary, every day. It’s even more shameful that the vandals dishonored Mayor Richard G. Hatcher, a national historical figure who fought for the people of Gary and the marginalized and oppressed around the world."

Melton vowed not to let the vandalism stop the city's momentum and said the Gary Police Department is currently investigating.

Michael Gallenberger is a news reporter and producer that hosts All Things Considered on 89.1 FM | Lakeshore Public Media.