We all like to think of our homes as a haven from the outside world where we can feel most at ease and safe. So, it can be especially upsetting and unsettling when your home is the unfortunate target of vandalism and damage.
It can be easy to bury your head in the sand and assume your property won’t fall victim to a random act of damage. But crime stats show residential vandalism is a common occurrence all around Australia.
According to the NSW government, 40,317 incidents of graffiti were reported to NSW Police between July 2011 and June 2016, where residential dwellings were most frequently targeted.
Keep Australia Beautiful estimates the cost of graffiti and other forms of vandalism to the Australian community at a whopping $2.7 billion annually.
You also need to consider the impact not dealing with vandalism has on property values in your neighbourhood.
‘Real estate prices can suffer as prospective tenants or buyers, not privy to a graffiti-affected area, can associate tagging on personal property with unruliness, social decline and antisocial behaviour, despite the property’s interior being in impeccable condition,’ says Brett Brook from Lead Estate Agents.
There are a number of ways to give yourself peace of mind, maintain your property value and discourage vandals from targeting your home. Here are four of our top tips to protect your dwelling.
Check your home insurance
Double check the Product Disclosure Statement for your home and contents insurance to make sure you’re covered for malicious destruction of property. If not, you may want to upgrade your policy so you’ll be covered in the event of vandalism damage.
Make your home an unattractive target
There are a few simple measures you can take that will make the exterior of your home unappealing to opportunistic vandals. Such as:
- Install motion activated sensor lights on external areas of your home or fence line that are poorly lit and vulnerable to damage. Vandals will be put off by not being able to conceal themselves after dark, where the bright light makes it more likely they’ll be spotted by neighbours or passers-by. Also, be sure to report any broken streetlights out the front of your home to council promptly.
- Keep bushes and trees at the front of your property cut back from the footpath, again to make sure there is a clear line of sight from the street to your home so vandals have no space to hide and lurk in the shadows.
- If you’re repeatedly targeted you may want to consider investing in an external video surveillance system and video surveillance signage in plain sight to deter would-be-vandals. No criminal wants to be caught in the act on camera.
If you’re unlucky enough to be a victim of vandalism arrange to have it cleaned up as quickly as possible. Vandals get a kick out of the damage they caused being on display, so if they see that their graffiti masterpiece was removed quickly they’ll be less likely to return. This also discourages copycat tagging and further damage from occurring.
Add damage resistant barriers
Install security film on ground floor windows and doors, and opt for shatter-resistant light fittings to make it harder for vandals to smash windows and external security lights.
If you’re frequently targeted by graffiti vandals Dulux has formulated a fantastic DIY product, Dulux Precision® Anti Graffiti Coating. Just two coats enables you to clean off graffiti again and again just with water. No more calling in costly professional removal services, repainting or scrubbing away with harsh chemicals after every attack.
‘To remove aerosol paints from the coating, all it takes is a high-pressure hose to wash away the offending tagging without affecting the surface’, Briana Keenahan, Dulux Senior Brand Manager, says.
It’s suitable for painted and unpainted surfaces (i.e. timber, brick, concrete and render) and it also provides a barrier from dirt, acid, pollution and iron stains, so it can serve dual purposes in keeping your property looking good.
It’s wise to report acts of vandalism committed on your property, no matter how big or small, to your local authorities. Even if they don’t catch every graffiti tagger running amok, the police will know where to send more patrols that’ll, in turn, make your suburb safer and discourage further vandalism.
Happy house hunting!
The Homely Team