See if someone has a criminal history of vandalism.

What Is Vandalism?

Vandalism is the intentional destruction or damage to personal or private property. It is a crime, and there are several different types of it depending on the severity. Examples of vandalism include; defacing property, spray painting on buildings, breaking windows, throwing eggs, and a variety of other acts that cause damage to someone else’s property.  

Stanley Cohen has described seven different types of vandalism that can occur. That being said, vandalism is not limited to only these types.

Different Types of Vandalism


One type of vandalism that makes the news is ideological vandalism. This vandalism includes defacing public or private property such as statues or other emblems of figures that a group may be protesting against. 


This type of vandalism occurs when there is looting or theft. One who commits acquisitive vandalism is looking for a quick buck and their motive is usually monetary. 

Peer Pressure

Vandalism that results from peer pressure falls under this category. If an entire group of people is committing an act of vandalism, the odd person out may feel like they are justified because of groupthink mentality. 


Those who commit tactical vandalism are using it as a means to an end. This act of vandalism gets them one step closer to their goal. For example, when someone commits a crime to get arrested on purpose so they can have a bed to sleep in for the night. 


This is a vengeful type of vandalism, where a group or individual lashes out against the property of someone they believed to have wronged them. For example, damaging an ex-boyfriend’s car who cheated on you. 


Sometimes vandalism may be accidental, resulting from a game of some sort. For example, when a ball flies and breaks a window during a baseball game.  


Malicious vandalism includes what occurs during riots or protests. People come together in groups and damage public property as a result of anger and frustration. 


The 21st century has brought about digital vandalism. This includes cyber-vandalism against a website or social media account, or other acts of destruction on digital property. 


Defacement is one of the most common types of vandalism. It can occur on walls, streets, buildings, sidewalks, or statues. Spraying paint on a wall or statute is defacement, as is doing graffiti across a wall or train. When most people think of vandalism, this is the kind they think of. 

What Are The Penalties For Vandalism? 

The punishment for vandalism will vary depending on where the criminal act occurred. In the United States, the penalty for vandalism is determined by the cost of the damage that is done. In Texas, for example, vandalism that exceeds $750 and is less than $2,500 is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. 

As a business or property owner, the last thing that one expects to have to deal with is someone committing vandalism against them. 

View our other Glossary Terms here

*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.