A single act of vandalism such as graffiti daubed across the walls of a building, doors that have been kicked in or any other form of defacement of a property can have far reaching implications in the local and surrounding areas. Fire alarms that have been set off deliberately on a regular basis, windows that have been maliciously broken, arson, theft of plant or other equipment and squatters all add to the degeneration of the area, impacting negatively on property values. Irrespective of the type of vandalism it’s usually ugly and unnecessarily costly.
Vandalism left unchecked leads to more vandalism and other serious crimes, so the crime rate increases. If you are a landlord of commercial buildings to let, no matter how pristine your units may be if there is visible vandalism in and around the area you won’t get many takers and those people who may be interested will not pay a premium rent.
A figure can be placed on how much your repair bills amount to due to vandalism but the cost to reputation if construction projects are held up, depreciation in property value and loss of rent revenue is incalculable.
Other consequences of vandalism include damaging the image of your business and diminishing the confidence of your employees who may perceive that they are no longer safe working in the building, particularly if they work late into the night.
No matter where your building is located there is no guarantee that it will be immune to vandalism but there are certain steps you can take to prevent it including:
Identify reasons why someone might want to vandalize your building
Is your business involved in controversial research that might attract the attention of protest groups? Are there unruly gangs of youths in the location who might find some twisted entertainment in vandalizing property? Is it widely known in the area that you have valuable plant and equipment on site?
When you have identified potential vandals explore the perimeter of your property, particularly areas that are not well lit. These areas are where vandals can hide. Is valuable equipment in plain view? Do you have adequate security fencing?
There are few criminals in the world who commit crimes in the belief that they will be caught. Vandals are no exception and inadequate security fencing, open entrances and poorly lit areas actively encourage vandals to try their hand.
A lack of visible CCTV or other surveillance equipment together with a lax approach to managing visitors to your building projects the wrong image to would be vandals practically inviting them to come and do some damage.
With security you need to create physical barriers in the form of robust security fencing that isn’t easy to scale as well as psychological deterrents such as lighting and highly visible surveillance monitoring equipment, which are almost effective as having a security guard on site.
It’s common sense to keep your grounds landscaped or tidy, limit entry points to your building, invest in high quality security fencing and gates, make sure the property is well lit at night and put some system in place to keep a check on your visitors, such as ID card access. All these things can place your building off limits to vandals because of the very real risk that they may be caught.
If unfortunately vandalism has occurred, get it repaired as soon as possible. Vandals love to see their “work” displayed so removing graffiti or repairing visible damage will not give them the satisfaction they so desire. It may be that your rapid response in resolving the problem will be sufficient to deter further attempts at vandalism. Repairing damage quickly removes the evidence away from the eyes of discerning prospective tenants and of course, from your clients or customers.
And make sure that other businesses in the area are aware of what has happened since they too may need to review their security measures.