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School Vandalism

School Vandalism Prevention Helps Minimize Distractions

School vandalism is a constant issue taking place across the country, especially after long holiday breaks.  It’s a crime that is costly for schools and dangerous for students and faculty returning to the campus. Broken windows with shattered glass in classrooms, exposed wires or toxic chemicals spilled in areas that children spend most of their day is hazardous and also time consuming to reverse.

When students and faculty return to these vandalized schools, they are distracted from their studies and the level of attention is disrupted. Studies have linked the effects that a school environment has on academic performance. If lights or heating units aren’t working due to copper wire being stolen from the classroom units, it impacts the attention span of the students, even the teacher.  Graffiti vandalism on campus instills a sense of fear  and anxiety that crime had taken place on campus. Some studies also indicate that if children are exposed to these types of property crimes at an early age, they may be more prone to commit these crimes at a later age themselves.

A recent article on The Gazette titled “Landscapes may shape learning,” mentions a study conducted on “The Hidden Benefits of Green Landscapes” at schools. This was presented by the head of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois. He indicates that students have higher attention spans if they have a view of a green spaces from their classroom. Being exposed to green spaces gives the brain a break from the “rigors of focusing on work and other tasks requiring active attention.” Imagine how much additional rigorous activity the brain is put through when it is faced with an environment destroyed by vandalism.  When the environment stays clean, everyone and everything in it will feel safe, and student safety is a top priority for all a schools.

Holiday Lights

Stop Vandals From Destorying Holiday Decorations & Displays

This time of year is supposed to be festive and bright, bringing together family and friends in celebration. Unfortunately, statistics have shown that it’s also the most “dangerous” time of year. Criminals are shoplifting from stores, pickpocketing shoppers,  burglarizing vacant homes and scam artists are targeting online shoppers and even posing as non-profit organizations for “donations.”

Property crimes such as vandalism, graffiti and trespassing are ongoing issues as well, when more schools are on break and rebellious adolescents become “bored” and cause trouble.  Many communities decorate streets, parks and other outdoor spaces with beautiful holiday displays that unfortunately become targets for these crimes. Vandals have destroyed nativity scenes, Christmas trees and menorah displays, breaking lights and tagging graffiti over precious decorations. These displays can range in value – one news story reported stolen figures valued at $35,000.

Not only are these crimes  expensive to repair, it is heartbreaking for the community in which crime has destroyed their joyous spirits. Some of these displays have been long, historic community traditions that were damaged in just one night and cannot be replaced. These priceless displays must be protected PROACTIVELY from vandalism or it is too late once the damages are done. By having a strategic game plan to protect and prevent vandalism, graffiti and other nuisance crimes from happening, “The Grinch” can be kept at bay from stealing the holiday spirit from your community.

Graffiti on Wall

Graffiti Prevention Strategy: Address the “who” over the “what”

graf·fi·ti  /ɡrəˈfēdē/ noun : writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place.

Did you know that graffiti comes in many various forms and “techniques?”  Some taggers use drill bits to etch glass, metal or plastic surfaces, making it more difficult and more expensive to remove. Others slap stickers across signs and billboards, which may seem like an innocent act but it is still vandalizing public property nonetheless.

Any type of graffiti vandalism is upsetting and disconcerting for the residents that take pride in their community. It even creates fear and anxiety as these types of vandalism is symbolic of lawlessness and increased crime. It is important to quickly address all forms of graffiti and reverse the damages to maintain a clean and safe environment, while communicating to the community that order is in place.

When implementing graffiti prevention strategies, make sure that all of these various graffiti “styles & techniques” are being addressed as well. Keep in mind that products that help simplify removal of paint won’t stop surface etchings, or systems that detect the sound of aerosol spray cans only work for taggers using spray paint. Therefore, it’s important to proactively stop the source of the crime – the taggers committing the crime – rather than reactively focusing on the crime they committed,  in order to fight the crime altogether.

Clock

Crime may increase as Daylight Saving Time ends

Fall season ushers in shorter days and increased hours of darkness, where crime can flourish. As Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends, be alert and vigilant.

The daylight hours help to deter criminal behavior, as shown in the Stanford University published study conducted by Nicholas Sanders and Jennifer Doleac.  Researchers found, for instance, that robbery rates decrease by an average of 51% during the hour of sunset following the shift to DST in the spring. Criminals seize the veil of darkness to carry out their unlawful activity. The risk of being seen by witnesses  or getting caught is likelier in daylight and is its own form of crime deterrence. In the study Sanders and Doleac conclude, “Taken as a whole, results support our hypothesis that effects are driven by criminal response to probability of identification and capture.” They affirm that the majority effect of the lowered crime rate “is due to deterrence” during the affected hour of DST.

When crime increases, the challenges to prevent criminal activity also increase, and the need to stop the cyclical pattern that often occurs. Some offenders see it as a game. Beat them at their own game by setting up crime preventions and stopping the offenders before it happens.