When they hear the word “vandalism,” most people immediately think of graffiti, but there are many other forms of vandalism, and they are all a detriment to society.
Graffiti is a common form of vandalism and is sometimes mistaken for urban street art. The difference between the two is that street artists have permission to paint from the property owner. Graffiti vandalism is done without permission and is often inappropriate. It can be very expensive to get rid of graffiti. It is also time consuming to remove and people have much better things to do than repaint over and try to wash off graffiti. If urban art is what you’re into, you’ll need to practice on your own property.
Any sort of destruction of property without consent is also deemed vandalism. Breaking street lamps, hitting mailboxes, even throwing shoes over powerlines is considered vandalism. Many young people enjoy going to abandoned buildings, but not only is this trespassing, if anything is damaged then it’s also vandalism. Even if a building is not being used, destroying anything inside is considered a crime.
Theft is another form of vandalism that many people often do not realize. Stealing small and miniscule things might not seem like it has a negative impact, but it can have a tremendous effect on businesses and local institutions. The fine and possible jail time of theft is not worth the price that should have been payed to begin with. Many may consider taking things from places no longer in business or houses not lived in anymore as legal, but even if no one is occupying a building, it doesn’t mean you can steal from it. If it isn’t yours, leave it alone.
Now that summer is coming to a close, it is important to realize the impacts of vandalism since it often increases during this time due to restlessness among youths right before the school year starts up again.
Depending on the amount of damage done, or the value of an item that is stolen, penalties can reach thousands of dollars in fines and possibly years in jail or prison. “Even small acts of vandalism can result in hefty criminal penalties. They not only create financial loss and substantial inconvenience to the property owners, but also reflect negatively on the community,” said Police Chief, Buddy Hill.
There are many ways to find a creative outlet that does not require the destruction of property and a possible fine. If you do not have permission, understand that it is not your canvas. Be smart about what you chose to do with your time for the rest of the summer and think before doing something that could have a negative impact on you and the citizens of Athens.
It’s important to report vandalism and graffiti as soon as possible. If you see someone committing vandalism, report it to the police. If you see the aftermath of vandalism, contact the owners of the business or area that was affected. Vandalism is a magnet for more vandalism, so the sooner it is cleaned up, the less likely the area is to be vandalized again.
If you catch someone in the act, please report it;
Call the Athens Police Department with any information about possible vandalism: (903) 675-5454
For questions, please contact City Hall at 903.675.5131 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.