Vandals should be made to pay the cost

We’d love to see vandals made to shoulder the cost of their actions.

We’d love to see vandals made to shoulder the cost of their actions.

This could come as both a monetary fine and/or the person or persons responsible could be made to clean up the damage with a little elbow grease of their own.

This last, of course, is dependent upon catching them before said clean-up is completed.

All too often the people that perpetrate this kind of crime get away with it.

The people who know who did it — and yes, there usually are people who know exactly who did it — don’t tell authorities due to a code of silence, fear of being targeted themselves, or simply because they don’t consider it to be a really serious kind of crime.

After all, nobody got hurt, right?

Wrong.

Vandalism, both to public and private property, hurts the entire community.

Cobble Hill residents won’t get to have their days brightened with the Yates family’s Christmas display this year, for example.

When it’s done to public buildings there’s an immediate and tangible monetary cost, as the community, with our collective tax dollars, is required to pay for repairs.

When it’s done to private property perhaps insurance takes care of it, but more often than not individuals are simply left to pick up the broken pieces or get out a scrub brush, in the case of graffiti, by themselves.

But that doesn’t mean the people around them aren’t affected as well.

There is a pall cast over neighbourhood morale, a sense of safety and comradeship is lost.

These intangibles are just as important, and much more difficult to repair, than the physical damage left behind, lingering long after the spray paint is removed.

That’s why it’s really helpful if perpetrators have to face the people they’ve hurt. They should get a true sense of the cost of their actions.

We believe that if they are given the responsibility of fixing it, there is far less likelihood they will do the same in the future.

This kind of restorative justice has been proven to work.

It can also help to give someone a sense of ownership and belonging in the community that clearly is missing now.

Even if it’s just stupid, thoughtless behaviour, hours of scrubbing off a tag would make anyone think twice about doing it again.

And of course we’d love to see the monetary cost of repair shifted to where it belongs.