RAVENNA, Ohio (WJW)– The theft and destruction of public property by teenagers influenced by the “Devious Licks” challenge” on TikTok is a disturbing trend around the country. But some TikTokkers may be thinking twice about the challenge after police in Ravenna arrested a group of juveniles for vandalizing public bathrooms.
Chestnut Hills Park in Ravenna has been a target of vandals numerous times in recent months. Juvenile delinquents have torn up the bathrooms at the park and ripped sinks from the walls. When portable toilets were brought in while the bathrooms are being repaired, they are overturned by the vandals.
“To have kids come in and just think that’s it’s fun to tear it apart, it’s sad because they don’t see the value of it, and the value to the community,” said Ravenna Parks and Recreation Director Judy Watkins.
It turns out the inspiration for the vandalism that has caused thousands of dollars in damage at Chestnut Hills and City Park in Ravenna is the “Devious Licks” challenge. The vandals record the theft and destruction of public property, and then post the videos on the TikTok app. In this case, the victims of the crimes are the families and taxpayers of Ravenna.
“We’ve got kids out here at the playground right now and families out here that, unfortunately, we’ve had to shut down the restrooms day after day and time after time and they’re unable to use it,” Watkins said.
Volunteers who have spent their free time building the playground at Chestnut Hills and beautifying green space around Ravenna said they are disturbed by the corrosive influence of “Devious Licks.
“Are we really going to stoop to this because of TikTok, and to become famous and ruin what our community has worked so hard to have and are so proud of,” asked park volunteer and Ravenna City Council Member Amy Michael.
The “Devious Licks” challenge is also being blamed for acts of vandalism at Ravenna High School and at Brown Middle School.
Ironically, some of the students who videotaped themselves vandalizing the bathrooms at the schools and the parks were arrested after they were identified on video from surveillance cameras installed by the city of Ravenna at Chestnut Hills. They will now face charges in juvenile court.
“You might think it’s fun and games for the 15 minutes, but those consequences to you can last a lifetime,” Watkins said.
City officials said the punishment should fit the crime, so they are hoping the court will force the juveniles to clean the parks and the bathrooms that they have damaged.
“Stop, think about it and don’t do it because technology that we do have here now. You will get caught and we will prosecute you,” Michael said.