The Keenan Blog

Timely and informative posts written by our experts.


Vigilance Against Vandalism

October 25, 2022 by Brian Erdelyi

Among the scariest parts of Halloween is the increase in vandalism, especially property crimes against schools, public facilities and motor vehicles. The great majority of those out and about enjoy wholesome fun in costume, a few harmless frights, and a bounty of candy. There are always a few, unfortunately, stirring up a cauldron of trouble. During this upcoming week, we encourage you to be extra vigilant about protecting property and eliminating hazards that can be a temptation to malicious tricksters.

Vandalism, arson and burglary frequently reaches an annual peak around the end of October each year. Travelers Insurance Company’s latest property crimes statistics, 2011-2021, indicate 68% more claims on Halloween compared to any other day of the year. The National Insurance Crime Bureau found, from 2012-2019, that vehicles are much more likely to be stolen or vandalized on October 31. Even more tragic, drunk driving deaths are 75% higher and pedestrian deaths increase 41% on Halloween according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Let’s be careful out there!

Malicious mischief and worse acts can be reduced with preparation and vigilance. There are simple steps for making facilities less attractive targets for anyone up to no good. Regular inspections of your property to assess preventive actions ahead of time can help avoid property losses around Halloween.

Inspection Plan – Create a plan to have qualified personnel regularly inspect buildings, utilities and mechanical systems to keep them in good working order. Ensure fire sprinkler and electrical systems are functioning properly. Identifying failures promptly allows you to limit damage and restore habitability following an incident. In locations where freezing temperatures are possible, implement mitigation against bursting pipes.

Secure the Perimeter – Keep gates locked after hours and be sure fencing is in good repair. Remove any trash and weeds from grounds that could be easily set on fire. Keep the area around your facilities and parking lots more visible with effective lighting to deter attempts to damage or break into buildings and vehicles.

Empty Dumpsters Ahead of Time – Request an additional rubbish pickup if the regular schedule doesn’t coincide with Halloween. Lock dumpster lids at night and keep containers away from buildings that can be damaged should dumpster contents are set on fire.

Neighborhood Watch – Cooperate with your neighbors to keep an eye out for each other and their properties. Encourage reporting of unusual activity they see happening around the community.

Modern Technology – Security cameras, motion detectors and sensors help keep watch when no one is around, alerting you, and in some cases, security and law enforcement, of possible intrusion, smoke and fire, or flooding. These are effective deterrent measures that can be expensive, but are far less costly than property crime damages or the loss of use of the facilities and destroyed equipment.

A Sign That Someone is Watching – Posting signs indicating the presence of surveillance and announcing your commitment to prosecute property crime can prod would-be vandals, burglars or arsonists to move along.

Reduce Vehicle Exposure – Where possible, keep cars, trucks and construction equipment inside garages or in gated yards a safe distance away from fence lines. Maintain good lighting where vehicles must be left outdoors.

Don’t Let Them Admire Their Work – If you do experience a property crime incident, clean up and restore damage as quickly as possible. Repair broken windows, remove or mask graffiti right away. It’s important however, to document and report any property crime to local law enforcement to help inform future patrol priorities and investigate patterns of criminal activity.

Taking proactive measures can help reduce your risks of becoming a vandalism victim. Your AP Keenan representative can help you assess your property risks and help you implement effective loss control steps to lessen your exposure to vandalism and arson.

About Brian Erdelyi
Brian Erdelyi , Director of Safety Technology, joined AP Keenan Loss Control in February of 2006. He is currently working on obtaining his Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation. Brian is a Certified as a Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI), First Aid/CPR/ AED Instructor, and 12-passenger van driving safety instructor. Brian led the development of the AP Keenan Safety and Security product. Brian was a key member of the AP Keenan Emergency Management Program (for K-12 and CCDs) development team. Brian is currently developing a Reasonable Suspicion product for schools and municipalities. In addition to the above listed programs, Brian also regularly conducts property and liability inspections/audits, employee safety training, ergonomic evaluations, Playground safety inspections, and Hazardous Materials Program Services.