Atu'u residents believe siren vandalism done by outsiders
Some Atu’u village residents believe the person, or persons, who vandalized the outdoor emergency siren at their village, is an outsider, who should be caught and prosecuted.
“It’s terrible and very, very disturbing that someone would damage such an important government asset - a siren - which helps save lives, not only our residents but others who may pass through our village during a time of disaster,” said one resident, who asked not be named.
Added another resident, “Whoever did this, is for sure an outsider of the village and that’s what all of us in Atu’u are sure about. Why damage the equipment? And for what purpose?.”
The local Department of Homeland Security director, Mike Sala said that an inspection of the siren on Saturday revealed the control panel vandalized, in which some, or more than one person, is believed to have tried to pry the box cover open but were unsuccessful because the panel is locked. In the attempt, however, they did damage the panel cover.
He said it's hard to believe that anyone would try to damage the siren equipment knowing that they were installed to help save lives in times of emergency.
“These sirens were funded by the federal government for the safety of our people”, said Sala, “and to vandalize them is to put the safety of our people at risk.”
Sala is also asking pulenu’u and all members of the community to watch out for the sirens and protect them from vandalism. “If you see people loitering around the sirens, report it to police,” he said. “If caught, the culprits will be prosecuted without any leniency.”
Meanwhile, Sala also calls on leaders and pulenu’u of the villages, where the other 48 sirens are located in Tutuila and Aunu'u, to please keep a close watch on the sirens to prevent them from being vandalized.
The siren project was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and it's very expensive to have sirens repaired if damaged he said.