Vandalism is the intentional defacement, damage or destruction of property. While theft can be involved, typically vandals are not out for financial gain and are instead acting out of frustration, hate or boredom. The more barriers you can put into place, the less worthwhile these motivations can seem — and the safer your business is.
Any type of vandalism can be costly, including things like repairs to your property, replacement of inventory or business-essential items and lost revenue during the disruption to your day-to-day. It can also have unseen impacts on your peace of mind and comfort level in your community. It’s important to do all you can to stop vandalism; here are five ways you can protect your business:
How to Prevent Vandalism
1. Keep it Tight
The first and easiest thing you can do is keep people out who aren’t supposed to be in your building or on your property. If you recently moved to your property, be sure to re-key and re-code everything. Even if you received the keys from the previous owner, you can’t be sure there aren’t copies out there.
If you have old doors or windows that can be easily broken or tampered with, get a replacement. Consider using impact glass for windows. If your business or area has a history of being targeted, you may also consider additional security measures like gates/fences, window bars, or anti-graffiti paint. Every additional barrier is a reason for a potential vandal to leave your business alone.
If you have equipment and/or vehicles that remain outside, ensure that they are locked and in a secure place, if possible. When you can, lock the oil and gas caps of your vehicles.
2. Install a Security System
A security system with video surveillance and the ability to automatically call the police is helpful in protecting your business. Just having a system with visible cameras (and a sticker/sign indicating you have a system) helps deter possible thieves. In addition, cameras can help you catch the people responsible if a break-in does occur and help you identify where they entered the property so you can prevent it in the future.
If vandalism or theft is a significant concern and you have the budget, consider contracting with a security company to patrol your area.
3. Light it Up
Keeping your business lit — especially lighting doors and/or windows — helps discourage anyone looking to cause trouble. The risk that they will be seen is too high in a well-lit area. You may want to have a backup source of power in case of a power outage.
4. Think Outside the Building
Consider the ways you can deter vandals using landscaping. Things like thorny bushes around entrance points can deter people from slipping or climbing in. Trading large bushes and/or trees for smaller plants that are low to the ground can also deter vandals by eliminating hiding places and ensuring that cameras have a clear shot of anyone on your property.
You should also do everything you can to keep the outside of your property free of bottles, debris, large rocks etc. Anything that can be thrown is a temptation for vandals and risk to your property.
5. Make Friends
Building strong relationships with the businesses around you – even joining or starting a business watch group - can help you all stay safer. You can alert each other of troubling sightings or incidents, track patterns or band together to take defensive measures such as hiring a security firm to patrol your block.
Creating community with other business owners can also help if someone near you moves or closes their business, as vacant buildings are easy targets to vandals. Calling on your network of business-owning friends and finding someone who wants to move into your area can be a win-win situation.
You should also do what you can to build relationships with law enforcement in your area and communicate with them if you have any issues; they can’t stop crimes they don’t know about. In addition, police response to a small incident of vandalism can help send the message that you (and the authorities) take vandalism seriously.
You can also support alternate methods of engagement for people who may resort to vandalism, such as being involved in a community program for youth or providing a space for a community-led mural. The idea is that if people have other ways to occupy themselves and/or pride in their community, incidents of vandalism will decrease.
These measures are just one piece of protecting your business and your future. Another critical piece of the puzzle is the appropriate coverage. Talk with a Farm Bureau agent to ensure you are protected.