As spring kicks into full swing followed by summer, the warm weather is accompanied by increased incidents of vandalism. In most cases, these acts of vandalism are committed by adolescents and young adults who see destruction as the cure for boredom. Considering that vandalism costs businesses and residential communities millions of dollars each year, business owners and communities can ill afford to ignore crime prevention strategies. We recently did a site inspection for a residential community near Baltimore, MD. First, it is important to accept one important fact….there is no full proof system to prevent a highly motivated vandal 100% of the time, short of hiring a security services company to provide security guards for every corner of your property or possibly convincing your governor to enact martial law. However, some things can be done to encourage a vandal to go elsewhere. The key is making the effort required to accomplish their criminal act exceed their motivation to achieve their goal of defacing or damaging your property.
Here are 10 great crime prevention tips to prevent vandalism
1. Have bright security lights inside and outside of your property.
Light is the vandal’s biggest enemy. They do not want to be seen. Keeping areas well lit make it difficult to commit their acts of vandalism without being seen. Vandals like to operate under the cover of darkness. In their world, light is only good after they have done their damage. Proper lighting is the easiest and most important step in preventing vandalism. It is important to ask the right questions about your lighting to get the right lighting solution for your particular environment.
2. Use unbreakable security glass and fixtures designed to foil vandals.
The first thing a vandal does is break lights and accessories. Doing so returns the area to the dark state required for them to commit their criminal acts without being discovered. Unbreakable glass and fixtures prevent them from accomplishing this task. These systems are not guaranteed never to be broken. However, the effort required to damage these types of installations is time-consuming and has an adverse effect on their motivation. Repeatedly doing something without success is worse than boredom to young criminals.
3. Install security fencing around your property.
When possible install fences around the perimeter of your location to discourage intruders. Be sure to post no trespassing signage on them as well. It is also advisable to have an extra set of fencing around areas that are more attractive to criminals such as corners and passageways. Installing fencing is a crime prevention option that provides the added benefit of deterring other types of crime.
4. Strategically plant shrubs and bushes to increase security
Plant shrubs and bushes to make it more difficult for criminals to reach their targets. This can apply to a wide range of target areas ranging from signs to fixtures to balconies which they may intend to climb on. Be sure to use plants with thorns and sharp jagged leaves and branches.
5. Clean up vandalism and remove or repair any damaged items as soon as possible.
Vandals want to commit their act and have other see it. This is particularly the case with graffiti. Quickly removing the evidence of their acts eliminates their ability to take credit and embolden their reputation with their peers. Clean it up as soon as you see it. Repair or remove damaged items immediately. Don’t let them feel the pleasure of seeing their work. Get it off or move it as soon as possible.
6. If you see anyone committing vandalism, report it to the police
Many people make the mistake of thinking that acts of vandalism are “too small” to report to the police. This is false. Always remember large or small report it all. The police are charged with protecting law-abiding citizens from criminals. When crimes are committed, they are responsible for capturing the suspects for them to answer for their violation of the law. Crime prevention is important. However, making criminals pay a price for their crimes is also important. The police can only respond to crimes that are reported. Promptly reporting the act can result in the vandals arrest. At a minimum, timely reporting can allow the police to increase presence in the area to protect your neighbors and prevent your location from being hit again.
7. Support community programs that give young people something to do.
Boredom is the fuel that drives the engine that propels vandalism. Eliminate the fuel and the engine will not start. Supporting programs that provide young people with safe alternatives to criminal mischief provides the dual benefit of preventing vandalism and make a positive impression on the life of a young person. Young people who are busy doing activities have no time for committing crimes. Your support can manifest in any combination of ways. You could start your program from the ground up, donate money, volunteer or get involved in some other way. This is the type of crime prevention that makes people feel good. The choice is yours.
8. Lock security gates and all other entrances and exits.
Locking doors and gates are the least expensive option for preventing vandalism. The simple act of locking a door can prevent an act of vandalism. Vandals tend to look for easy targets. Every extra step they have to go through encourages them to go elsewhere. Make checking all doors and gates a standard part of your procedures. You won’t regret it.
9. Install video surveillance
While ineffective against professional criminals, surveillance cameras can be effective against amateur criminals who commit acts of vandalism. The presence of cameras is a deterrent. In cases where they do not prevent the crime, cameras can provide information that can assist police in their investigation. Video surveillance can be an effective solution for preventing vandalism. However, buyers should be mindful of their budgets. In many cases the costs exceeds the benefit of using the cameras.
10. Hire a security services company to provide security guards
Hiring a private security firm is the most effective crime prevention solution. It is also the most costly option. In most cases business owners can implement the other options listed in this article and have satisfactory results without investing in security guards. However, there are some circumstances where hiring security guards from a security services company is a viable option for example:
- The property being protected is very expensive such as construction equipment, buildings, and homes being built. Construction sites are often targets of crime. Security guards are the best solution for construction security.
- Sites that have implemented the options listed in this article and are still experiencing significant losses due to property damage.
by Rudo Robinson Google