August 11, 2020

The Editor speaks: Vandalism


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Colin Wilson

It was with much horror I read the Press Release from the RCIPS re Vandalism in Webster’s Estates – 2 juvenile males arrested.

See iNews Cayman story published today (29) at:

The vandalism was horrendous and involved several properties and included “vehicles, walls, road signs, street lights and other private property.”

Now we have just learned that this criminal activity “is linked to a burglary at John Gray High School on Wednesday evening in which several computers were smashed, other additional property was damaged, and a fire extinguisher was stolen.

“The two male youths arrested in connection with both incidents are now on Police bail; one of the youths was brought to the George Town Police Station on Saturday by his parent immediately after she became aware of his involvement in the incident.  The second youth was arrested on Sunday. In total the investigation indicates at least a dozen offences were committed across both incidents.

“On Sunday CPD officers visited Webster’s Estates to assist with the clean-up and repair to damaged property by painting walls and cleaning signs. In total, at least three cars were vandalized during the incident and a front door was smashed, in addition to a number of signs and walls which were defaced.

‘“This was a spree of vandalism which is estimated to have caused tens of thousands of dollars of damage,” said Acting Sergeant Jonathan Kern of the George Town Community Policing Sector. “Vandalism on this scale is unusual in Cayman, and while it has been unsettling for the community of Webster’s Estates they have come together in a spirit of problem-solving which we have been happy to support.”’


So why do juveniles commit vandalism?

I found an interesting article published on the Psychology website that seems to be applicable to the above criminality:

Vandalism in young adults is usually caused by peer pressure. Young adults believe they look “cool” when they disobey authority be it parental or civil. This simple act of rebellion is when the most vandalism occurs because the vandal is trying to prove they are independent (CWRU). During adolescence, a developing child will spend more time with their peers when than when they were younger. Due to increased contact, it is likely that adolescents influence each other more than when they were children (Bard). As a result, adolescents with high achieving friends are more likely to be involved in a wholesome peer environment, which as the outcome means that they are less likely to commit violent acts such as vandalism then adolescents that are involved with more of their delinquent peers. As a consequence of these decisions, young adults begin to rely on their friends to guide them through life more than their parents (Bard).”

“…Unfortunately, not enough attention has been directed to preventing vandalism, which is one of the reasons it continues to be an obstacle in the United States today. Considering the fact more than three fourths of vandalism originates in schools there is still very little being done preventing school-based crimes such as the defacement of public property (CWRU).

“Vandalism “sprees” usually occurs in “waves” and in groups. Translated into simple terms, this means that vandalism usually happens in a certain amount of time while the levels of intensity of vandalism vary while usually more than two people will deface a singular piece of property together. It is unknown whether the media has anything to do with vandalism, and if so whether society copies the media or the media copies society because of the many situations presented in real life and in the media. Today, with our busy society, children seem to be doing things more drastic just to earn the attention of their parents. The problems are the same, but the actions are more elaborate and attention grabbing. There are different reasons as to why vandalism occurs. Some do it because they are angry at life, while others do it because they don’t care or they want to fit in with their peers (Walden).

“One of the few ways that is used to help prevent vandalism is to teach children about respect. Children of all ages today feel as if adults are bossy and intimating people who like to punish those younger than them. If they can be taught earlier on that adults used to be children too and they faced the same challenges as adolescents of today do, then maybe there is hope for future generations in our quest to cease vandalism (Walden).

“It is in the opinion of some trained professionals, that those who vandalize feel that they have no self worth, so they do whatever that is in their power to leave their mark. Graffiti marking is rather like an animal marking its territory, its instinct. To many people an area with visible graffiti in it has a high crime rate and it is not a safe place to reside and raise a family (Abercia).

“Unknowingly, vandalism has affected our lives in many ways, from our homes to our schools. Children are suffering everyday as a result of vandalism, even as they perform the act. With the help of people around the world, we can make our community a better place if we reach out to improve our surroundings and teach our children how to respect one another. Maybe someday in the future, the world will be a better place as a result of the lessons taught today.”

The above is only an extract from the whole article written by Lynn Gardner. I urge you to read the whole. It can be found at:

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