How to reduce after-hours vandalism at your business

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Graffiti on the walls. A broken window. A pulled fire alarm. With school being back in session,  incidents of teenage vandalism are lower, but such crimes as equipment theft, sabotage and more can’t always be attributed to teenage boredom. Here are our top 10 tips to reduce after-hours vandalism, to help you get started in your protection plan.

10. Assess and make a plan. Take a look around your property. What vulnerabilities do you see? This is particularly crucial if you’ve not yet been hit with vandalism; if you’ve already been a target, then you know how to shore up your defenses. Do you see areas not well-lit at night? Blank walls that are begging for graffiti? Unprotected equipment that can be vandalized or stolen?

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9. Report vandalism. If you see it, report it. Next time they could hit your place, if they’re not caught and stopped. Local police can only respond to crimes that have been reported. At the very least, reporting such after-hours vandalism in your area can encourage police to increase their presence in your area, at least temporarily.

8. Respond immediately. Despite your best efforts to reduce after-hours vandalism, it sometimes happens. If it does, clean up the graffiti as soon as possible. When you do, you’ve removed vandals’ bragging rights. Remove any damaged equipment or materials immediately as well. Don’t give them the satisfaction of admiring their handiwork afterwards.

7. Wall off vandals. Consider adding or reinforcing your perimeter walls, fencing and gates. The fewer access points you have, the more defensible your space. Add no trespassing signs. Trust Security also recommends adding an extra set of fencing around areas that are more attractive to criminals such as corners and passageways.

6. Light’em up. Bright security lighting is a major deterrent to vandals, who value their anonymity while in the act. Walk your site at night to ensure you’ve not accidentally left any dark spots.

5. Lock up. While this seems like a no-brainer – locking up every night – you’d be surprised at how many business owners inadvertently leave a side door or a window unlocked in their haste to leave for the day. Make it a habit to check your doors, windows and gates on your evening rounds before you leave – it’s the fastest and cheapest way to reduce after-hours vandalism.

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4. Grow protective landscaping. Plants with thorns or sharply edged leaves such as holly bushes will deter criminals. Plant them in strategic spots, such as around signs and other outdoor fixtures, or under windows or second-story ledges or balconies.

3. Add alarms and cameras. Whether or not your security cameras are monitored real time, the fact that you have them in full sight, along with surveillance warning signs, is a major deterrent. So is a loud security alarm. Chances are vandals will pick another location when they spot your cameras.

2. Defend your defenses. Ensure that your security lighting and security cameras have unbreakable security glass and are designed to withstand vandalism. These are typically the first items criminals will go after, to protect their identity.

1. Hire security guards. While this is the most effective solution to reduce after-hours vandalism, it’s also the most expensive. However, if you have major equipment or costly items stored outside or inside – or if you’ve been a target of theft or vandalism multiple times, it may pay to hire a security company.

For more ideas on how to prevent or reduce vandalism at your commercial property, here’s a downloadable guide by Safe City partners.

3 Ways to Protect Against Vandalism 
5 Strategies to Reduce Property Vandalism
10 Steps to Prevent Vandalism


This article originally appeared on Arrowhead’s Tribal blogpost. The information has been updated and modified to better fit the needs of ACM’s customers and self-insured clients.