Vandalism on campus is a multifaceted problem that takes many forms, including destroying property, setting off fire alarms, stealing, and writing graffiti. Many factors, such as peer pressure and hostility toward the school, contribute to this type of violence, and these behaviors are often fueled by heavy drinking.
Alcohol and vandalism often go hand in hand. One in ten students report engaging in vandalism due to alcohol, and almost a quarter of heavy drinkers engage in vandalism. Residences and other campus buildings near bars often bear the brunt of alcohol-related vandalism.
Colleges and universities pay huge economic and social prices for acts of vandalism, with much of the financial burden falling directly to the student body. Therefore, it is in the interest of the entire campus to prevent vandalism. Administrators can develop approaches to address the campus drinking environment and attitudes toward violence that may contribute to student vandalism. Working with residence life, campus police, and student health services, a comprehensive approach to vandalism prevention may be beneficial.
Reducing vandalism on campus makes the campus safer for students and staff, saves the campus precious resources, improves the school’s appearance, and increases campus morale. Specific vandalism prevention strategies that have been effective on campuses include:
- Implementing student or campus police patrol of campus grounds, including dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, and parking lots, during times when students are likely to party or during campus events
- Establishing drug- and alcohol-free residences, including fraternities and sororities
- Making students aware of the high cost of vandalism on campus and its direct effect on student fees
- Controlling access to frequently vandalized areas of campus
- Addressing offenders’ use of alcohol and other drugs through evaluation and counseling