Random acts of vandalism are occurring all over BC in 2022. Psychologists point to pent up frustration from the lockdowns and restrictions over the last two years as a precursor to aggressive behavior. Recent social unrest is also an antecedent. Nothing is off limits for those who damage property, as even the iconic steam clock in Vancouver’s commercial community of Gastown was smashed last week. Chinatown storefronts were also riddled with graffiti, while on Main Street antique stores and cafes had their windows shattered in March. There is an epidemic of vandalism in BC’s commercial districts and businesses are on high alert. Is there anything you can do to keep vandals from damaging your property and causing financial strain? There is. Let’s review.
5 Practical Tips to Reducing the Risk of Vandalism Damage in BC’s Commercial Districts
Leave the Lights On
Security cameras only go so far. All that a vandal needs to do is wear a mask (easy enough these days), sunglasses, and a hoodie to hide their identity. What they do shy away from though, is a literal spotlight. Install bright exterior lighting to illuminate the sidewalk of your storefront at night, along with a not-so-subtle sign stating that passer-byers are “Under Surveillance”. If in an at-risk commercial area, leave the lights on in the interior space behind shop windows. This will give the appearance that cleaning crews or night-stockers (as applicable) are inside.
The most effective way to prevent graffiti, broken glass, and other forms of shopfront vandalism is to install metal shutters that cover the entirety of your shopfront. They needn’t be ugly garage door type contraptions, as there are contemporary options that add to the aesthetic (and mystery) of your business when closed. Modern shutters can also be treated with anti-graffiti coating that keeps paint and marker ink from sticking and/or can easily be wiped away.
Clean and Fix Vandalism as it Occurs (and get neighbors on board)
Studies have found that vandalism left unattended invites more vandalism. When vandals see graffiti or broken glass on one shop, they are more likely to target another on the same block. The same report references a number of examples where commercial districts in cities and towns have established a clear protocol for address existing vandalism to reduce reoccurrence. One city passed an ordinance to require commercial property owners to remove graffiti within 48 hours. While you may not get buy-in from governing bodies, your business and neighboring businesses can come to a formal agreement to clean and fix damage within 24-48 hours of it occurring.
Update Your Commercial Insurance Policy
If you’re in business long enough, you will eventually experience vandalism. Are you financially prepared to rebound when it happens? The better question, would be to ask if you have adequate commercial insurance to cover any and all acts of vandalism? Have an independent broker perform a comprehensive review of your policy to ensure you’re covered for glass breakage and more. Ultimately, the right broker will tailor commercial property insurance to protect all of your physical assets against loss or damage from vandalism. Contact Park Insurance today to receive a review of your policy.