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.


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.

Graffiti Prevention

Fighting Graffiti Vandalism: Increases in Frequency, Vulgarity and Cost

Graffiti problems in cities across America are on the rise sharply. Graffiti vandalism is becoming more vulgar and reflecting more tension and racial animosity. In September 2015, multiple incidents of racial graffiti vandalism occurred in San Francisco. Even worse, people are being killed for confronting taggers or simply cleaning up graffiti. A child in Compton, California, was gunned down while painting over gang graffiti. A man confronting taggers painting gang graffiti on his property and was shot dead as he approached them.

Cities, churches, schools and private business owners alike are targeted, requiring larger budgets for crime prevention and graffiti abatement. After cleaning up graffiti, often the problem repeats within days in the same place vandals previously struck, causing major hassle, downtime and expense.

Although strategic suppression tactics to proactively prevent the graffiti from occurring is the optimal approach, rapid removal of all traces of graffiti is also key to preventing future incidences. This signals community pride for the area and property, and sends a message that graffiti vandalism will not be tolerated. Quickly addressing graffiti helps eliminate other forms of crime that might otherwise be attracted to the tagged area.