However, many find it hard to believe that vandalism is on the decline, particularly following the 2011 riots.
Arson & Smashed Windows
The riots saw vandalism, such as arson, smashed windows and graffiti, on a mammoth scale thus earning this generations youth population the title of ‘the most mindlessly destructive ever’.
One theory to explain the dramatic fall in vandalism of late is that people have simply stopped reporting it to the police.
Several people believe that acts of vandalism have become so commonplace in parts of the country that the public no longer bothers to report the crimes.
Another suggestion is that public property, such as bus shelters, are becoming harder to vandalise.
Whilst both of these points make for valid arguments, it is also important to recognise that work still needs to be done to further lower the rates of vandalism.
Statistics show that 2006/07 witnessed 1,185,040 acts of criminal damage while 2011/12 showed that figures dramatically fell to 598,958 – a drop of over half a million incidents. Companies that specialise in deterring vandals agree that good progress has been made but also emphasise that more can be done.
For example, if an area takes pride in its appearance and responds quickly to repair or replace public property that has been damaged by vandalism, chances are that vandals will be less likely to repeatedly target that area for fear of wasted efforts.
It is therefore in the best interests of a community to report incidents of criminal damage to the authorities to help deter vandalism in the future.
Similarly, several counties across the country are praising asbos for the downfall in incidents concerning vandalism.
Anti-social behaviour orders were met with mixed reviews during their inception but some local authorities have found remarkable success through their use.
North London’s borough of Camden has seen acts of vandalism reduce year on year thanks, in part, to the implementation of anti-social behaviour orders.
Asbos are used to target known offenders and help to reduce crime by removing the worst offenders from an area.
However, it can also be argued that these offenders that have been deterred from areas that enforce the use of asbos are simply just relocating to communities where the asbo is treated with less zealous enforcement.
Therefore, it is important that all communities throughout the country work together to lower the criminal damage caused as a result of vandalism. Many areas have begun utilising the ‘broken windows’ strategy that minor acts of vandalism are tackled promptly in order to prevent communities from falling into disrepair, thus creating a breeding ground for more serious crime and it seems to be working.
Gun crime has also fallen in recent years with 2012 statistics showing that only 42 gun-related deaths occurred in that year – an all-time low. Another theory for the reduction in vandalism is that smartphones have simply stopped boredom.
Vandalism rates began to fall sharply in 2006/7 around the same time as the introduction of the smartphone. Research suggests that 7 per cent of teenagers spend less time socialising with their friends since getting a smartphone.
With the internet quite literally at our fingertips in today’s society, it is no wonder that young people are less inclined to feel boredom lately and therefore it is reasonable that some people may attribute the decline in vandalism to this.
Although the recent reduction in rates of vandalism can be seen as progress, it is important to remember that vandalism is still a very pressing issue in several parts of the country and needs further hard work in order to lower vandalism nationwide.