Vandalism is the willful, deliberate, or malicious damage to property, whether personal or commercial. Vandalism isn’t always random, senseless property damage. Rather, some individuals vandalize to express frustration, to take revenge, or to convey a message. Vandals may work alone or with other members of an organized group.
Although graffiti is one of the most pervasive types of vandalism that commercial property owners and retailers experience, vandalism also includes smashing, breaking windows, bending signage, removing signs, or defacing property.
When graffiti is the form of vandalism, vandals use a variety of instruments, including spray paint, etching pens, markers and shoe polish. In some cases, acid etching is employed, which permanently damages metal and glass surfaces.
Most vandalism is done in the late evening, under the cover of darkness. However, it is also common right after school lets out for the day. Vandalism is most frequently conducted in public areas in plain view, such as on billboards, park benches, freeway signage, and bus shelters. That said, private properties with a public view are not left out.
Because businesses spend tens of thousands of dollars or more each year on vandalism-related repairs, preventing vandalism in your business is important. Here are some tips to help preventing it in your business.
1) Use lighting. Make sure your business and areas surrounding your business are well-lit. Because this makes the vandals more visible, they’re less likely to choose your business as their target.
2) Use protective film. To prevent acid etching damage to glass, apply a protective film.
3) Use unbreakable glass. To reduce the opportunity of damage, use unbreakable glass on key vandalism target areas.
4) Clean up graffiti immediately. Graffiti leads to more graffiti.
5) Install video surveillance. If possible, install video surveillance around your entire business. If that’s not feasible, install it in problematic locations.
6) Plant shrubs in strategic locations. To make it difficult to access signage to vandalize, plant low shrubs — and thorny plants — to deter vandals.
7) Install perimeter fencing. This will make it more difficult for intruders to get in further preventing vandalism in your business.
8) Network with business neighbors. Develop a community business watch problem.
9) Report vandalism to law enforcement. Although a minor vandalism incident may seem too insignificant to report, the fact is vandalism is a crime. Reporting it to the police may result in a less likelihood of a repeat occurrence.
Keep in mind, if your business is insured, your vandalism damage might be covered. Speak with your insurance agent to see if repair or replacement costs to any of your business’ property damaged by vandalism are covered under your commercial property insurance.