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Destruction of property (Vandalism) is described in Virginia Code as any person, who willfully and unlawfully destroys, defaces, or damages property shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor when the damage is less than $1,000. Anyone who willfully causes damage to property with a value of $1000 or more shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

Recently, a statistical comparison was completed by Prince George County Police Department comparing vandalisms reported from 2005 thru 2008. The comparison examined vandalisms through the first two quarters of each year. (January-June) The results revealed a 41% increase in vandalisms for this year. (See below chart)

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY REPORTED VANDALISMS

JANUARY - JUNE

2005 2006 2007 2008
110 111 123 173

A yearly comparison was also completed and found a steady increase in vandalisms from 2005 through 2007. (See below chart)

YEARLY TOTALS REPORTED VANDALISMS 

2005 2006 2007 2008
244 268 273 ?

While vandalism will always be a part of our society, below are some hints to help reduce your risk of becoming a victim.

  • Ensure there is appropriate lighting around the exterior of your home. Better lighting may deter vandals, and with the improvement of visibility the chances of catching a perpetrator increases. 
  • Communicate and maintain a healthy relationship with your neighbors and have one another keep an eye on each other’s property. 
  • Document and report all suspicious activity in your neighborhood to the police. Something that may seem insignificant may be influential in solving a case.
  • Everyone do their part and educate children that there are consequences for their actions. 
  • Parents, make sure your children have adequate supervision, and know their friends. 
  • Children should have adult supervision when handling bb guns, sling-shots, etc.

Source:  Adapted from Cohen, 1973/Mary Barker and Cressida Bridgeman

The Prince George County Police offer a security survey to homeowners and businesses located in the county at no cost. An officer will come to your home or business and offer suggestions on how to improve security. For more information or to set up an appointment contact Sgt. Chris Douglas with the Community Services Unit at (804) 733-2773.

 

Cohen's typology
Types of Vandalism
Acquisitive to acquire money or property, for example, breaking into drink machines
Tactical

to damage is a conscious tactic, a means to achieve some other end, such as breaking a window to be arrested and get a bed in prison

Ideological similiar to tactical vandalism, but carried out further an explicit ideological cause or to deliver a message, for example, chalking slogans on walls, graffiti, tagging, etc.
Vindictive damage in order to obtain revenge, for example, breaking school windows to settle a grudge against a teacher
Play damage in the context of a game; who can break the most windows in a house
Malicious an expression of rage or frustration and is often directed at symbolic middle class property.  It is a type that has the vicious and apparently senseless facade which people find so difficult to understand.