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Common Forms of Vandalism

Vandalism takes many forms, affecting commercial and residential properties alike. Below are just a few examples of how seemingly minor acts of vandalism can cause tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Parapet Roofs

Shopping plazas often feature parapet roofs which serve as attractive facades and hide roof-mounted air conditioners and roof vents from view. Because these parapet walls can be up to six feet high, they also provide an attractive nighttime hiding spot and hangout for kids, vandals, thieves, homeless people, and others who want to stay out of view.

  • The damage begins when they access the roof, usually by climbing electrical conduit pipes and potentially damaging the conduit.
  • Beer bottles and signs of drug use are common. Damage caused by broken beer bottles extends far beyond the cleanup costs. When stepped on, shards of glass become embedded into the flat roof surface causing roof leaks with some leaks being as far as 50 feet away from the embedded shard. These hairline cracks are difficult to detect and repair because many flat roofs have gravel coverings that obscure all but the most obvious of damage. It is not unusual for the leaks to be extensive enough to warrant a full roof replacement.
  • Air conditioning units and their metal coils are often tagged. While it's not a big deal to repaint the metal shell, it is a big deal to repair metal coils that have either been painted or "carved." When the coil has been painted, it's a much more difficult (and expensive) repair; when the coil has been carved, the entire coil must be replaced. In some cases, if a coil is not available for an older A/C system, the entire system must be replaced.
  • Wall and roof damage is common when vandals throw rocks and bottles from the ground to the tops of buildings. Impacts can cause severe damage to windows, skylights, rooftops, air conditioning units, and other rooftop equipment.
  • Parapet walls are made up of a variety of materials, many of which are difficult to remove paint from. For example, a wall featuring modified bitumen with a granulated surface is nearly impossible to clean without causing further damage.

Copper Theft

Copper theft is a huge problem thanks to the value of copper to the transient population. Thieves steal copper wire from electrical conduit as well as from rooftop air conditioners. They also target vacant and foreclosed homes, stealing the copper pipes. Not only must the copper be replaced, thieves aren't particularly careful when removing these materials. Additional damages can occur to drywall, floors, affected equipment, and adjacent roofing materials during the theft, all adding to the cost of the vandalism repairs.