As a property owner, vandalism is frustrating, can be expensive to fix, and can be difficult to prevent. Just as there are preventative measures you may take to prevent theft, there are also certain measures you can implement to help deter vandals from targeting your home. We’ve outlined some steps you can take to protect your home from vandals.
Befriend Your Neighbor
Don’t feel pressured to spend all your free time with your neighbors or become their best friend. However, when you establish a connection with residents who live around you, they’re more likely to watch out for your home and let you know if they see anything suspicious.
Exchange names, phone numbers, and other basic information with your neighbors. If you feel comfortable after a few conversations, let your neighbors know when you’re heading out of town or share your work schedule so they’re aware of when you’ll be away from home. Your neighbors may be more inclined to keep a close watch on your property when they know you aren’t there.
Make Sure Your Property Is Well Lit
Studies have found that increased outdoor lighting in neighborhoods decreased the probability of index crimes (felony crimes) by 36 percent. With motion sensor lights or bright front porch lights, it’s easier for your neighbors to see if anyone suspicious is creeping around your property.
Vandals usually don’t want to be identified and they certainly don’t want anyone to catch them in the act. To ensure your home is well-lit, consider lining all walkways with solar-powered lights. Install lighting at all entry points of the home, including your garage door and front door.
They may approach from the back or sides of your home and they’re more likely to change their mind if these areas are also well-lit. Consider installing lights on the sides of the home and in the backyard for better visibility and to deter criminals from targeting your property.
Put up a Fence
Criminals usually want to complete their mission as quickly as possible to reduce their chances of getting caught. When a property is fully fenced, it is an extra obstacle in the process for vandals. They know they’ll need to climb the fence or open the gate to gain access to your home.
Opting to install a fence around your property may make vandals cross your home off their list simply because it’ll be inconvenient. Before installing a fence, complete a survey to ensure you know where your property lines are.
Check with your homeowners’ association or county codes to make sure they allow fully-fenced properties. If you can install a fence, go with a high and solid fence, made of wood or PVC. Also, consider installing a lock on your fence’s gate. This is another deterrent for vandals and criminals since it adds more complications to accessing your home.
Invest in a Security System
A home security system is a safety-savvy item that ensures your home is protected from thieves and other criminals. Your homeowner’s insurance provider may offer better rates on policies for homes with security systems because they’re less likely to be vandalized or broken into.
There are many options when it comes to home security systems. You could choose specific security options or a comprehensive system that includes:
- Motion sensors
- Window sensors
- Door sensors
In most cases, the system will sound an alarm when a window or door is opened, deterring criminals from continuing their attempt to access your property. Depending on the security system you choose, it may also alert the security company or the local police when activated.
Plant Privacy Bushes
If you can’t install a fence, consider planting shrubbery or trees around your property to make it harder for criminals to gain access.
Plant bushes that contribute to the beauty of your home’s exterior but choose foliage that truly increases your property’s privacy. Consider thick, thorny, or rough bushes or trees to make your property even less desirable to vandals.
Clean up Vandalism in Surrounding Area
If any of your neighbors’ homes have been the victim of vandalism, help them clean up immediately. When vandals see that homes in your surrounding area have been “easy targets,” they may continue to stay in the neighborhood and continue vandalizing other property. If you clean up the damage quickly, it sends a message that your neighborhood takes pride in its appearance and won’t tolerate that type of behavior.
Report Vandalism ASAP
If you notice vandalism on your property, report it to the local authorities as soon as possible. Once law enforcement is alerted, they’re more likely to patrol your neighborhood and catch the vandals before they strike again.
Your home’s insurance policy may include coverage that will help you pay for repairs to your home after vandalism occurs. Contact your insurance company immediately after you find the damage. The sooner you report the claim, the sooner your insurance company can help you repair the damages.
Create a Community Support Program or Group
Banning together with your neighbors to create a community support program or group is also an effective way to dissuade vandals from targeting the homes in your area. When you join with other residents to watch over the neighborhood for suspicious behavior or clean up vandalism damage quickly, it’s likely to reduce the number of incidents in the neighborhood. Forming a community watch or support program may also:
- Increase your home’s value and the value of other neighboring homes
- Make you and your neighbors feel safer
- Allow you to feel like you’re not alone
- Give you a space to share observations and safety tips with other neighbors
- Help you collectively decide on additional security measures to take that will benefit the neighborhood
Dealing with property damage from a vandal is frustrating, expensive, and disappointing. By taking these preventative measures, you’ll protect your home from vandals while increasing your property value and building connections with your community.