A single case of vandalism in the United States costs an average of $3,370.
Vandals are trouble. Their actions cause costly repairs, devalue your property, and take away your peace of mind.
The end consumer is not safe. The cost is passed down through higher prices for goods and services.
No business is immune to vandalism. No matter the location of a business, you should never ignore vandalism. Fortunately, all is not lost. You can take steps to stop vandals from destroying their property.
What Is Vandalism?
Vandalism means the intentional act of destroying someone’s property without their consent.
Under State and Federal laws, this act considered a crime. In some cases, it may be treated as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the cost of damage.
It is common in some states for vandalism to be referred to as malicious mischief or criminal mischief.
Some acts of vandalism include:
- Breaking someone’s windows and doors
- Defacing someone’s property by spraying paint
- Defacing a property by drawing graffiti
- Setting small fires
- Damping trash
What are the Causes of Vandalism?
While you might think that only intruders can cause vandalism, you shouldn’t be surprised when you find your employees being the perpetrators.
Vandalism at work is likely to be caused by revenge, work politics, unmotivated employees, hate, or even artistic show-off.
Effects of Vandalism
The damage caused by vandals will impact your business in several ways.
1. Repair and Replacement
After your property is vandalized, the immediate action to take is to repair and replace the damaged property. Woe unto you if you don’t have business property insurance. You’ll be forced to foot the repair and replacement bill from your pocket.
Additional costs will accrue if you’ve to rent space and equipment to continue running your operations as your property is repaired.
2. Work Interruption
With vandalized structures, you might be forced to halt business operations. For instance, if you’re a delivery company, you’ll stop operations if vehicles’ tires are slashed or tracking equipment is damaged.
If the destruction is extensive, it might mean relocating your business. Luckily, with business interruption insurance, you’re cushioned from losses caused by interruption of business operations.
3. Lost Sales
Vandalism is a danger to a conducive business environment.
For instance, damage through graffiti is a sign of rogue groups in an area.
When customers associate an area with insecurity, they will avoid it entirely. The businesses located in that area will suffer low sales as a result.
No customer will want their car damaged or broken into and personal property stolen.
Also, in areas prone to such acts, businesses tend to protect themselves by operating only during safe hours of the day. This means 24/7 services may not be available.
Reduced business hours will translate to the loss of potential sales.
4. Cyber Vandalism
While most people only consider vandalism to mean damage to physical property, there is the less conspicuous cyber destruction. With every business today striving to embrace the digital way of doing things, cases of cybercrimes are expected to increase.
Research by Rand Corporation in 2005 revealed that over 1.5 million computer virus infections resulted in the loss of over 193,000 business hours due to system downtime. Computer viruses destroy by stealing, deleting, and modifying crucial business files.
Viruses also cause less severe impact, such as sending junk emails, pop-ups, and slow running of computer applications.
How to Stop Vandals
Vandalism has severe impacts on your business. It, therefore, must be stopped at every possible opportunity.
While it might be hard to stop it entirely, there are steps that you can take to discourage vandals from striking.
1. Tighten Security
Vandals are more likely to strike when a business is unattended.
When you are a victim of vandalism, the first step to take should be to assess your security. In the case of stopping vandals, the perimeter wall security should be prioritized.
There are so many technological advancements in the field of business security that business owners should embrace.
Some measures you can take include:
- Installing HD surveillance cameras (with motion detectors and night vision support)
- Remote speakers to inform intruders they have been spotted
- Motion lights to light up vulnerable areas
- Recruiting a managed security team to monitor your business
With an elaborate security system, you’ll identify suspicious activity and act on time to stop vandals.
2. Landscaping and lighting
You need to secure the perimeter of your property as intruders will most likely be looking to access your property by exploiting its vulnerabilities. Consider building a sturdy perimeter wall or planting thorny shrubs around the property.
Take a walk around the perimeter at night as what may look safe during the day could be disastrous at night. If you identify some dark areas that can give way to intruders, add more lighting.
Planting thorny shrubs around the perimeter can also stop vandals who use graffiti and other artwork to deface your property.
3. Use New Building Materials
Just like the advancements in surveillance technology, building technology can also play a significant role in stopping vandals.
If you need to stop vandals from breaking your windows and doors, you can install high-quality impact glass doors and windows.
Vandals are likely to target your weak wooden or thin glassed windows to access your property.
Other options you’ve include applying anti-graffiti paints and installing anti-climb barriers.
4. Monitor Office Facilities
It’s crucial to keep track of employees’ activities to weed out vandals within your workforce.
For instance, the installation of cameras in privy areas will discourage employees from engaging in any form of intentional destruction.
You should, however, be careful when installing cameras in privy areas. Such installations should be done with the consent of the employees; otherwise, you can be charged with a wrongdoing crime.
5. Community Mobilization
Business owners need to network and collaborate in preventing vandalism.
Insecurity is not a matter you can address entirely on your own. It’s a team effort that needs the involvement of all concerned parties from the police to the Chamber Commerce.
When you advertise your combined efforts to deal with vandals, it will be highly unlikely for anyone to risk engaging in the act.
6. Develop a Communication Channel
Vandals don’t necessarily have to be foreigners. The people working with you could be culprits.
Setting up a communication channel to help employees raise their concerns could be a masterstroke in preventing vandalism. They will feel that they’ve been given attention, and therefore, need not take matters into their own hands when aggrieved.
You, however, need to guarantee them that no punitive action will be taken for raising concerns.
Employees can use the same channel to inform you about colleagues whose conduct is wanting. Encourage your employees to come forward when they notice vandals.
What To Do When Vandals Strike
When vandals have already struck your business, you can take several measures to punish the culprits and mitigate such incidents from recurring.
1. Report to the Authorities
If your property has been vandalized, you ought to report the matter to the police. Provide any relevant information that can help to apprehend the culprits.
2. File Insurance Claim
When your business is insured, you’re covered from losses caused by vandalism. Through a vandalism insurance claim, your insurer should compensate for all repairs and replacements.
It is important to work with experienced and professional adjusters to avoid cases where your vandalism insurance claim is denied or underpaid.
3. Terminate Contract
If the vandal is your employee, you can choose to terminate their contract.
As an employer, you should always protect yourself from internal vandals by including in the contracts a clause about taking corrective action against rogue employees.
Termination of contracts for wrongdoers is one possible resolution.
4. Salary Reduction`
When the vandal is your employee, you can institute a punishment that could see them compensate you for the damage caused by their intentional actions.
However, the law demands that your employee must have agreed to such action. Also, an employer should not make deductions if such a move would result in the employee earning less than the minimum wage.
Nip Vandalism in the Bud
By taking these steps, you’re sure of preventing your business from losses caused by vandalism and other crimes such as theft.
Aside from taking these measures, protect yourself by having a vandalism insurance policy. However, you need to be careful because when filing a claim. Your insurer might underpay or deny your claim.
To avoid such problems, you need to work with an adjuster to help you come up with a detailed list of damages that will guarantee you compensation.
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