Vandalism is the willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property and the one who carries out action of vandalism are called vandals. 1 It includes behavior such as breaking windows, slashing tires and destroying a computer system through the use of a computer virus. It involves criminal damages to people’s property without the permission of the owner. It can be also in the form of graffiti in a non-authorized or government infrastructures and properties. Vandalism is a crime. It is one of the most common offended crimes in the Philippines. According to the 14th congress of the Philippines Senate Bill No.
3042 or Anti-Vandalism Act of 2009: Any person who shall commit any of the aforementioned acts of vandalism shall, in addition to payment of the expenses for restoration of the property vandalized, suffer the following penalties: A. For the First Offense, the payment of a fine in the amount of PhP5, OOO; B. For the Second Offense, the payment of a fine in the amount of PhP8, OOO; and C. For the Third Offense, the payment of a fine in the amount of PhP10, 000, plus imprisonment of not less than 30 days but not more than one (1) year depending on the gravity of the infraction.
In determining the gravity of the infraction, the court shall consider the extent and the amount of the damage caused to the property in question. 2 Despite the act implemented by the government, many people still engages in the activity. Some had taken the government law for granted while others intentionally break the law in defiance to the government. Cases are still rampant that mainly involves delinquent juveniles. There are many traces of vandalism everywhere most common of which is in school.
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Sticky gums under a seat, scribbles and useless words written in permanent ink on desks, broken classroom windows and backstabbing words and gossips in the walls of both male and female comfort rooms, all of these are examples of school vandalism. Why students often commit vandalism? There are many types of vandalism according to a leading writer on Criminology and Sociology Stanley Cohen and those are3: 1. Acquisitive Vandalism- committed to obtain property or money. Ex. Looting and petty theft 2. Tactical Vandalism- used to accomplish goals or to advance some end other than acquiring money or property.
Ex. Setting a fire to a school property to set the fire alarm to get the classes cancelled 3. Ideological Vandalism- oriented toward a social or political cause or to deliver a message Ex. Damaging school properties as protest against school rules 4. Vindictive Vandalism- done by individuals seeking for revenge Ex. Writing mean words in a girl’s comfort room walls to expose a bully. 5. Play Vandalism- occur when youth intentionally damage a property during horse play Ex. Students roughly playing balls purposely hits the principal’s glass window. 6.
Malicious Vandalism- damage caused by a violent outpouring or expressing diffuse frustration and rage. Ex. A guy dumped by a girl he likes punched the male comfort room’s mirror. Vandalism may take on many forms and serves different purposes, committing it is still a crime. In order for this crime to be prevented, there are several factors contributing to school vandalism that are needed to be considered4 Offenders Characteristics Majority of people who commit vandalism are adolescents that is why among places, school is the most prone to vandalism.
Typically, young group of female and male delinquent juveniles. Vandalism is more common on high school students since they are more emotionally disturbed compared to college students and working adults. Young generation often find graffiti as an art rather than a crime. Motivation Adolescents often find reasons to commit vandalism. Peer influence can be a major motivator for teenagers to thrash and damage school properties. Vandalism can also be a cause of students going through depression and those without parental supervision.
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Most high school students can easily get emotional and more likely to shift that feeling into destruction. Some are just motivated to commit vandalism because of boredom. Times Time can be a significant factor that contributes to vandalism because it tells the possible occurrence of the crime. Vandalism often occurs at night where school grounds are empty and few security guards roam the halls and corridors. High proportion of vandalism occurrence is when schools are unoccupied, before and after school hours, in weekends or during vacation. Targets
Vandals often choose properties that are easily accessible and sometimes of great value. Schools are prime target for vandalism for a number of reasons: They have high concentrations of potential offenders in high-risk age groups. They are easily accessible They are symbols of social order and middle-class values Some youth believe that public property belongs to no one, rather than to everyone Other public establishments can also be a potential target to vandals because of their failure to provide their own maintenance of security and supervisions of properties.
To further discuss the case of vandalism, I conducted an online survey with 20 respondents in Domingo Lacson National High School in Bacolod City and accumulated the following results: Figure 1 The figure shows the number of students that answered YES and NO when asked if they committed vandalism. Among them, 14 students answered YES which gathered 70% of the whole sample. It shows that there are really many students that are engaged in the activity. Figure 2 Figure 2 show that among those that are guilty of vandalism, they commonly do it intentionally for play. Most students commit vandalism because they are just bored.
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Some find the crime fun during horseplay. Figure 3 Figure 3 show that most students have known other people committing vandalism. These is true to some students, they know someone doing the crime but don’t tell it to the people in authority. Some even joins them. Figure 4 Figure 4 shows that among the 20 respondents, few of them have been a victim of vandalism. Based on the previous figures, there are many vandals compared to the victims. The essence of the survey is to show how vandalism is becoming more rampant and common among students, many of which easily gets away with the crime.
Few are victims because many are vandals. Some victims want to get even so they become vandals too. Effects of Vandalism Restoration of damage properties takes a lot of time, effort and money. Schools pay a potential amount of money just by cleaning graffiti on walls and repairing broken doors and windows. It could also discourage potential investors and sponsors. Vandalism is a major loss for the school budgets that could have been intended for necessary expenses. Not only does vandalism affect school finance, it also ruins the school reputation.
Vandalism makes the school environment dirty and gives idea to parents and other people that the school is unsafe for their children. Vandalism can have a great effect on students too. It causes emotional damage to those students that are victims of it. It makes students feel unsafe and unsecured within school grounds. Vandalism can also set a bad example to other students and will increase the rate of juvenile delinquency. Taking actions against Vandalism The government has ever since carried out many ways to minimize vandalism such as fines, imprisonment, or both.
However, the law alone is not enough to stop vandalism. It is important for the school to plan necessary actions to minimize its impacts. Strengthen security control Schools should increase the number of security guards for supervision especially during night hours to deter unauthorized entry. It is also important for schools to have a CCTV for surveillance. Use of printed media Slogans and posters around school can be an effective way of transmitting information to the students of the impact of vandalism.
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It is also good to put warning signs around potential vandal targets to constantly remind them. Penalty Increasing or implementing school penalties could be a way for students to hesitate in committing future vandals. The government may have imposed a law but that alone doesn’t stop it. Setting prohibitions won’t necessarily eradicate vandals. What is in need now is the wide spread of vandalism awareness especially to young age groups. Reduction of cases of vandalism must start with the younger generation and that is by making sure that he or she has no reasons to do it.
Adults must set a good example to them and give them utmost attention. It is a good way to minimize vandalism through sublimation. Channel potentials of graffiti vandals into a legal art. Give them opportunity to showcase their own talent without breaking rules like providing them a place for mural paintings. Young children must learn to respect other people’s property so that in the future they will not commit vandalism. In the end, it will come to the responsibility of the parents and the teachers to govern the students at school.
They must be able to meet students’ social, educational, and emotional needs. Schools with either an oppressive or neglectful administrative style suffer from high risk of vandalism. The government might not be able to completely eradicate vandals but it is worth doing it one step at a time starting from school where students’ learn and grow. Vandalism is a crime; it is neither an art nor a hobby. People committing an act of crime are considered criminals, so vandals are criminals. The children are the future; we don’t want ours to be criminals.