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NCJ Number: 90798 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Vandalism
Journal: Revue de droit penal et de criminologie  Volume:61  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1981)  Pages:3-36
Author(s): R Screvens; B Bulthe
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 34
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
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NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
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United States of America
Language: French
Country: Belgium
Annotation: A comprehensive study of vandalism discusses the types and extent of vandalism as well as types of people likely to commit acts of vandalism. The purpose is to familiarize Belgian authorities with the nature of the offense, which is not covered by the Belgian penal code.
Abstract: Major types of vandalism are destruction of property involving material advantage to the vandal; destruction of property to express hostilities toward a person, group, or institution; and destruction of property committed in play, particularly by young children. The actual extent and costs of vandalism are uncertain, as most such offenses go unreported. Individual victims generally consider the probability of recovering the cost of damages slight and the likelihood of apprehending offenders small. Witnesses frequently do not notice offenses or regard involvement in petty offenses to be a useless exercise. At the institutional level, however, Belgian statistics on convictions indicate that vandalism is extensive and costly. Conviction data suggest that the conviction rate for vandalism has remained low. Most vandals are under 30 years old, belong to the working class, and frequently have previous records. Contrary to expectation, acts of vandalism in Belgium are most common in towns with less than 10,000 inhabitants. Acts of property destruction are often related to drug or alcohol abuse. Telephone and telegraph equipment has been a common target of property damage. The rate of such vandalism has risen so rapidly since 1979 that measures have been taken to reduce the number of offenses. Such measures include redesign of telephone booths and equipment, rapid repair of damages, and sensitization of the public to danger of vandalism. Typical vandal groups are described in detail. The author concludes that vandalism has become a general problem in all industrialized states, including the Soviet Union. But as long as the offense is not defined as such, the only means of control remain modification of the environment to avoid destruction, information of the public, rigorous application of existing laws, and diversion of juveniles' energies to socially acceptable activities. Notes and tables are supplied.
Index Term(s): Belgium; Vandalism
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