Vandalism is an offense that involves a person destroying another person’s property without the owner’s permission. Vandalism effects may include graffiti, window breakage, vehicle damages and even web site destruction or damage to someone else. The vandalism results may be seen in building structures, tunnels, street signs, bus stops, billboards, private property and other public spaces.
What constitutes vandalism?
Vandalism is the crime that is broader and used to describe a lot of behaviours. It includes any behavior that is willful and aimed at altering, destroying and defacing someone else property. The common behaviours that may be called a vandalism offense include spray painting someone’s property with the intentions of defacing, throwing an egg at someone’s window or a car, breaking a person window, using of graffiti or any other form of art to deface public property, scratching off paint on someone's car, knocking down or altering of street signs, use of hand or feet to damage someone's property, among many other behaviours. Also being in possession of any means that can lead to vandalism can cause a person facing vandalism charges in certain circumstances. This includes the possession of the spray paint can, a drill bit or a glass cutter.
Vandalism laws in United States and its purpose
In United States vandalism is covered under the state statutes that vary from one state to another. To some state, vandalism is considered as the criminal damage, malicious mischief, or malicious trespass among other terminology. Many states have very specific laws to reduce a particular type of vandalism. An example is a law on the aerosol container that prohibits the purchase of spray paint or any other vandalism tools that could be for the purpose of vandalism or graffiti. Some states also have laws that protect vandalism in some particular property such as government facilities, autos, school property and churches. Moreover, some prohibit certain acts of vandalism such as window breaking, graffiti and the use of substances that are manmade in the destruction of property. Vandalism offense penalties include fines, jail imprisonment or both, also the person convicted of the offense may be ordered to repair, wash or replace the property that was damaged. In some cases, an individual is involved in a cleanup program of the graffiti and other means of vandalism.
Laws on vandalism exist to prevent public spaces and property destruction. Also, they exist to help protect against crimes related to hate and behavior towards a religious or minority groups that include writings on school property on racism or graffiti related to sex or even ransacking a church.