Vandalism is not an expense you will have accounted for in your business expenditures, but small businesses often become a target for vandals. Coming to your office or shop in the morning, only to find that it has been disfigured during the night is a nightmare no business owner wants to experience. The expense of cleaning up and repairing damage can take up much needed money.
So what is vandalism, and how do you deal with it? Here are some tips to help protect against and deal with defacement.
What Counts As Vandalism?
Vandalism is generally categorized as graffiti, criminal damage, or disfigurement. Most of it will take place at night, when your office is closed. Your office or vehicle will be the most likely targets. While most of this may not be due to any enmity, businesses are most vulnerable to it due to their location. If your vehicle or walls are scratched, painted or maimed, it all counts as vandalism. Sometimes, it will be accompanied by a break in and theft as well.
Penalties and Compensation
If your business has become a victim of a vandalism act, you should file a complaint with the police. If the offender is caught, you could be compensated for the damage. Of course, the expense of correcting the damage caused will be a burden on your business, and the law allows you to seek damages. You can sue the vandal in a tort action to gain reparation. The court may award a jail sentence or a fine as well. .
Preventing Vandalism on Your Property
Vandalism can be prevented by having security cameras on the exterior of your building, and having a well lit area. If your office vehicle must be parked on the street, you should park it under a light where it is in view of a camera. Placing a visible sign warning about your security cameras will deter vandals, as they are more likely to be caught. If you have a boundary wall, you should install barbed wire to deter youngsters from jumping over it and onto your property.
If you want to be compensated for the full damage due to vandalism, inspect your property regularly. It’s a good idea to take pictures monthly, so that the insurance company or police has ‘before’ photos to refer to. Keeping a record of how your property looks will come in handy for insurance claims.
Cleaning Up Graffiti
While repairs to scratched vans can be done by a qualified mechanic, graffiti can be more of a challenge to remove. It is unsightly and bad press for your business. Graffiti is not easy to paint over, and will give you a hefty paint bill. There are many power washing services that will remove graffiti by using solvents that dissolve the paint. This will remove the bulk of the pigment, leaving it easier to paint over. You should consult your insurance company to check if they will cover it under their policy.