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Sign Vandalism: The Risks, Consequences and How to Stop It

Sign Vandalism: The Risks, Consequences and How to Stop It
17/05/2022

Vandalism is a perpetual issue in the UK that involves the destruction of, or criminal damage to someone else’s property, whether it be an individual or organisation. In recent years, vandalism has been on a decline, falling at a rate faster than any other type of crime in the UK.

However, vandalism is still an issue, so here we discuss some of the ways to prevent vandalism, its effects, and why it occurs.

What is Vandalism?

UK law defines vandalism as a situation where one person, without consent, damages property belonging to someone else. This behaviour must be caused by clear intention or reckless behaviour.

Vandalism may occur as a prank, a source of personal revenge, or to make a public statement. The vandalism of signs in particular can often be a protest of what the sign represents. However, this only makes the sign and the danger it’s there to prevent more of a risk.

Effects of Vandalism

One major effect of vandalism is the increased cost of replacing and repairing vandalised signs; the annual cost in the UK of removing graffiti alone is over £1 billion. This money would be beneficial elsewhere, so cutting down on vandalism is of high priority due to the dangers that can arise as a result.

Vandalised traffic signs lead to unsafe driving behaviour, and therefore more dangerous roads. Graffitied parking signs make parking restrictions unenforceable, thus creating a negative effect on the community and its wider safety.

Melbourne’s Playground Case Study

In the summer of 2021, QR code signs at a playground in Melbourne were torn up. The sign required people to check in to the location during the pandemic as part of the track and trace initiative.

Some people were abusing the playground as a loophole of social distancing and household rules so that groups of adults could still meet. As a result, the QR codes were destroyed a week after being installed.

This had a dangerous impact on the local public as the lack of check in point rendered visitors unaware if they had been in contact at the park with someone with Covid-19. In this instance, as with many other cases of vandalism, the safety of many was put at risk for the actions of a few.

Legal Consequences

Vandalism punishment can be anything within a range of possibilities. Ultimately, the legal consequences depend on the individual circumstances. The intensity of the damage itself and its equivalent value is subjective to the magistrate.

Damage valued at less than £5,000 can result in a fine of up to £2,500, or a three-month prison sentence. For damages more than £5,000 the maximum penalty is £5,000, and if applicable, a prison sentence can be up to six months.

How to Protect Yourself from Vandalism

As vandalism is often unprovoked, it can be difficult to fully deter. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent vandalism in public and on private property.

Bright lights and security fencing can be beneficial for deterring vandals as they again limit access and make it clear to the individual that you are on the lookout for potential criminal behaviour.

You could also set up security cameras on your personal property and place matching signage to let potential vandals know they will be seen. Browse our range of site security signs to improve your home security today.

Preventing Vandalism with Label Source

At Label Source, we can help you create a safe environment with our abundance of safety signs and labels. From hazard warning signs to prohibition, mandatory safety signs and more, we have you covered.

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