In 455 A.D., a group of Germanic tribesmen known as the ‘Vandals’ took over the Roman empire and looted, raided and plundered the entire city of Rome. Such was their burning and ransacking, that the tribe’s reputation was held equivalent to their acts of destruction. The word vandalism is derived from the tribe’s name Vandals, which is why it is associated with committing a crime in context to its history. But what is the penalty for vandalism?
Rules regarding vandalism are created to avoid ill conduct and inappropriate behaviour that can cause the states to lose millions of dollars each year in maintenance and clean-up efforts. Most acts of vandalism can even cause psychological or emotional trauma to the owners of the destroyed property as well. Most of the time, when a person obliterates, alters, or in any way destroys someone else’s or the government’s property, they are asked to clean-up, fix, or replace the damaged property. More significantly, they have to face criminal penalties such as prison, having to pay fines, or even both.
What Is The Meaning Of Vandalism?
Vandalism is a pretty extensive crime, with various categories that define certain behaviours and ill conduct. Typically, it includes any kind of destruction, altering or defacing of property belonging to someone else, that is done on purpose. Moreover, even adding a physical blemish which reduces the value of the property is vandalism. Some examples of vandalism include:
- Spray painting someone else’s property with the intention of defacing;
- Scratching (keying) paint off of an individual’s car;
- Egging someone’s house or car;
- Breaking someone’s windows;
- Ruining public property with graffiti;
- Puncturing someone’s tires;
- Destroying park benches;
- Deliberately destroying a computer system through a computer virus;
- Reshaping or knocking down street signs; and
- Kicking and ruining someone’s property with your hands or feet.
Additionally, any individual who owns the tools that can aid them in committing vandalism can also face vandalism charges under certain situations. The tools that can help vandalize a property can be those such as a drill bit or glass cutter.
Vandalism Charges For Minors
The juvenile justice system comes into play in situations where a teen or any other minor is accused of a crime. The courts and prosecutors that work for the juvenile justice system have a more vast range of options than they would have had in the case of an adult being accused of the same offense.
For a minor who has committed a vandalism crime, the court can order various kinds of penalties as punishment. It is important to know that the kind of penalties a court will hand over to a minor will differ greatly from one case to another. A large number of factors are weighed when it comes to deciding a suitable punishment for the juvenile offender. So, despite the fact that fines or jail are the typical punishments for vandalism, it does not necessarily mean that the juvenile court will order the same punishments for the minor.
In most cases of juvenile vandalism, the court orders the minor to pay some sort of indemnity to the property owner. In simple words, it is the money through which the property owner can repair or replace the vandalized property. Another consequence of the restitution order can be the judge asking the juvenile offender to find employment or maintain the job that he/she already has.
A minor can also be asked to pay a fine in cases of juvenile vandalism. As far as fines are concerned, they can differ widely. Fines for juvenile vandalism can range from as much as approximately $500 (or more) for small acts of vandalism, to thousands of dollars (or more) for larger damages. Contrary to restitution, the fine must be paid to the court by the minor, as punishment for the vandalism. In some states, the juvenile’s parents or guardians have to pay the fine if he/she is not able to do so themselves.
Courts can arrange for the minor to serve a probation period for a defacing offense. Juvenile probation is generally around a year long or sometimes maybe more. During this time the minor is required to perform particular tasks. For instance, the court will regularly require the juvenile offender to remain in school, look after business, meet with social specialists or guides, and not submit additional offenses. In the event that the juvenile neglects to satisfy the probation terms, the court will frequently arrange a harsher punishment, for example, juvenile detention.
In some cases, prosecutors may say yes to a juvenile diversion program. This is quite similar to probation since it also puts forth certain conditions that the juvenile has to follow. Moreover, if the diversion program is successfully completed by the minor, then the prosecutor can even drop the charges. Diversion is usually only proposed as a punishment for first time offenders who have committed vandalism, but at a small scale so that was not very destructive or significant.
In the most serious and uncompromising cases, the court can order a minor into a juvenile detention center. A full-time detention can be ordered, or the judge can ask the minor to stay at the detention facility over the weekend. The juvenile offender can even be transferred to a juvenile home that has enhanced supervision. The time period of the detention can vary greatly, and is typically only given in cases where the juvenile has been repeatedly vandalizing property or if the circumstances of the case are particularly extreme and intolerable.
Types Of Vandalism
Mentioned below are the three most common types of vandalism:
Graffiti is something that one sees usually everyday. It very well may be splash paint labels or spray painting on the sides of buildings, under parkways, or on train vehicles. For reasons unknown, spray painting is exceptionally mainstream among youngsters and some gangsters. In the event that your building is vandalized by graffiti, call in professional help to fix it. It requires some investment and some specific items. Therefore, we prescribe you to call an organization acquainted with the removal of graffiti. All surface zones must be cleaned. At times, pressure washers or sandblasters can erase the paint from brick and different materials. In any case, there is a danger that they can additionally harm a wall. In these occurrences, proficient fluid graffiti solvents are another alternative.
Any deliberate damage to someone else’s property such as smashed windows or broken fence poles is also vandalism. This could be because of some act of revenge or maybe just random vandalism. Whatever it is, seeing your property destroyed can definitely feel like an invasion of privacy. Moreover, most of the time, damage repair is very expensive and can result in you spending many dollars. The general necessary clean up in case of vandalism can be done by a professional restoration company and they can bring your house or business back in shape in no time. Moreover, they also repair any structural damage to the building and make cosmetic fixes.
Street Signs and Billboards
Street signs and billboards are also a favourite object to vandalize when it comes to vandals. The items they use to destroy such property are markers, paints, spray paints, along with other materials as well. Oftentimes, street signs are pulled out of the ground and stolen. Excessive vandalism in public areas sends a negative of the street, neighborhood, or the entire town. You can even get in touch with a professional vandalism cleanup service that can help remove the remnants of criminal vandalism.
Causes Of Vandalism
As far as the causes of vandalism are concerned, people generally draw or spray their feelings on walls or chairs. They might kick dustbins or street signs in a public area in order to vent out their anger and frustration. According to psychologists vandalism is mostly done by people from lower socioeconomic groups, such as the unemployed or teenagers. This sheds light upon the social problems of a poor economy, peer pressure and bullying. People who vandalize property are usually idle or angry about everything. However, it is because of these unemployed individuals and these teenagers, that the society has to spend thousands of dollars to maintain and repair the damaged public property.
Nonetheless, the issue of vandalism keeps on accelerating, there are increasingly more public properties that are being vandalized by individuals, which means tax dollars would be squandered. Victims become angry, which as a result, creates social discord. It is excusable that victims will be incensed. Envision that you are a mother of two kids, you and your youngsters intend to go to the park, so your kids can play with other kids in the park and you can sit down to talk, relax and have some extra time with your companions. But due to the significant issue of vandalism, all park offices were obliterated, your kids cry to you and you can’t converse with your companions. As one can well envision, this is a serious situation and we have to make sense of more answers to resolve problems concerning vandalism.
To tackle the problem of vandalism, the government ought to give more opportunities to younger children and teenagers to direct them and give them clarification. They need to start analyzing the impact that vandalizing a property can have on a society. The government should provide juveniles with common areas for graffiti where they can express themselves and their creativity. Other than that, parents should also give more help to their children to ensure that their kids have a decent amount of confidence and self esteem. To wrap things up, the government should support the jobless, or individuals with a low social and financial status, for example, they can provide them with job opportunities.