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Understanding Vandalism: What Drives It and How Can You Prevent It?

According to FBI statistics, vandalism is one of the most common crimes committed against American property owners. More than 15 percent of American property owners become victims of this threat every year. Unfortunately, vandalism is more than just a paint spray can and broken glass. It is a violation of your sense of security.

Even when an act of vandalism is relatively minor, it can rattle a property owner’s confidence. It can quickly instill a feeling of, “If it’s this easy to damage property, how easy would it be for someone to get away with something much worse?” The good news is that, by observing a few simple tips, a homeowner can easily minimize their chances of falling victim to vandalism. From lighting to safety film for glass, nothing here is hard to install, but they can make a world of difference.

Keep Property Well-Lit

Vandalism is a crime of opportunity, especially with easy targets. Unfortunately, poorly lit areas make vandalism that much easier. Keeping property well-lit is an easy deterrent, especially when accompanied by motion detectors that trigger lights and scare potential vandals away.

Have a Fence With a Secure Gate

A potential vandal will move on to an easier target when they encounter a property with a fence they will have to scale or a locked gate they will need to break through. It’s also a good idea to have fencing around corner lots or passageways since they are attractive entry points. Keep your gates locked too.

Use Plants and Shrubs Defensively

Planting shrubs and bushes around your property not only improves its look, but also deters vandals. Shrubs can make it much more difficult for vandals to reach your home, especially if they have pointed leaves or rough bark that makes climbing over or around them uncomfortable.

Install Video Cameras

Video cameras installed in plain sight are an effective deterrent against burglary and vandalism. Vandals like to show off their work, but they don’t like being caught in the act. Beyond deterring vandals, if they do strike, video can provide good evidence for police.

Clean Up Vandalism as Soon as it is Found

Vandals practice their “art” because they want it to be seen but cleaning it up as soon as it is found is a good deterrent from falling victim again. A vandal will probably not come back if they know their work will be covered over soon after leaving it.

See Something, Do Something

The police have more important things to do than chasing vandals, but when a homeowner finds vandalism on their property, it should be reported as soon as possible. When reports start to accumulate, it lets police know about trends and where they should concentrate their patrols.

Keep Windows Covered

As much as vandals want to deface property, they don’t usually want people around when they do it. Any vandal who isn’t sure there is someone home will probably go elsewhere. This makes curtains and blinds important, especially while keeping the lights on.

Use Film or Break-Resistant Glass

When there is break-resistant glass or safety film on windows, it is harder for vandals to damage. These, combined with lights, make vandals want to avoid certain homes.

Support Anti-Vandalism Programs

Vandalism has become an increasingly prevalent problem. For this reason, communities have started to band together to fight back. Programs that are established to keep vandals off the streets and busy with other things can reduce vandalism. Whether these efforts involve donating or volunteering, both are worthy efforts to curb the problem.

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