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Articles Tagged with vandalism

Protests over the killing of of George Floyd by a police officer in downtown Minneapolis came with waves of violence and looting across the country. In San Diego, the aftermath of prolonged protests that melded with rowdy rioters was over 100 arrests being made by the San Diego Police Department. At approximately 2:30 a.m. on Monday, June 1, the SDPD announced that the charges were diverse and included failure to disperse, assaulting officers, burglary, and vandalism.

 

Due to the unrest, officials decided to close all state buildings with offices located in the downtown area of the city on Monday. Amy Palmer, the spokeswoman for the state Government Operations Agency indicated that the decision was made after discussions between the California Highway Patrol and the Office of Emergency Services, where it was determined that the closures were necessary. The Department of Motor Vehicles all the way through offices that act to license workers and those that provide healthcare were closed down while urging those employees who can work from home to continue to do so.

 

The protests contained very tense moments. At one point, traffic on Interstate 5 was shut down by the protesters’ presence in the streets. In some instances, officers fired tear gas, flashbangs, and used less-lethal ammunition to control the unruly crowds. Much destruction to the community was left afterward. After the protests subsided, a large group of volunteers spent their day cleaning up businesses that were damaged and picked up debris on the ground from the chaos that took place earlier.

 

What is Considered “Vandalism”?

 

When an individual is determined and intent to destroy or bring about damages to property by way of trashing or tarnishing the appearance of the property, defacing it, or ruining it in such a way that its value is decreased, this act is considered vandalism. Vandalism is a willful crime and can include any of the following acts:

 

  • Using a marker to write on a public bench
  • Carving words, letters, or symbols into a public tree
  • Scratching up a car or slashing tires
  • Smashing windows
  • Spray painting buildings

 

There are other terms that are used synonymously “vandalism.” These include “destruction of property” and “damage to property.” Depending on the state you live in, these terms may describe more serious forms of property destruction. Other states use these terms in tandem with vandalism keeping the crimes in the same category. Crimes associated with vandalism, therefore, vary by state, and as such, so do the penalties.

 

In general, in order for you to be proven guilty of committing vandalism, the prosecutor must successfully make the case that the following took place:

 

  • Your acts resulted in physical damage
  • Your damage was done to another owner’s property who did not give you permission to change their property’s appearance
  • Your acts were done intentionally, not by accident

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Vandalism is an act that most people attribute to children. Unfortunately, it is an act that is performed by minors and adults all too often in San Diego. Vandalism is a serious, intolerable crime in California.

What is Vandalism? 

Penal Code 594 PC defines the act of vandalism. California law states that every person who maliciously commits any of the following acts with respect to any real or personal property not his or her own, in cases other than those specified by state law is guilty of vandalism:

  • Defaces with graffiti or other inscribed material.
  • Damages.
  • Destroys.

Examples of Vandalism in San Diego 

An ongoing report of vandalism includes BB gun vandalism where the suspects are firing BB gun pellets causing damage to vehicle windows and store windows in San Diego. 

Another instance of vandalism includes a recent closing of the Allied Gardens Pool, a San Diego city pool, due to someone throwing glass bottles over the fence and shattering the glass in and around the pool of the swim center.

San Diego Police is investigating a hate crime after graffiti included racist language spray-painted on the garage doors of two homes in University City, according to a CBS News story

Scooter Tampering is a Crime 

A final example of vandalism includes an article in the San Diego Community Newspaper Group reporting evidence of scooter tampering in Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach. The suspects are cutting brake lines on scooters. 

As of July 24, 2019, San Diego Police Department says there have been no other vandalism reports filed regarding brake tapering. Cutting brake lines on scooters is a crime. The San Diego police states that a misdemeanor or felony will follow depending on the amount of damage caused. 

Penalties for Vandalism in San Diego

The California Penal Code also spells out the penalties for vandalism. The penalties for vandalism depend on the value of the destruction. For example:

  • If the destruction is $400 or more, a person may receive between one and three years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000 or more depending upon the level of damage.
  • If the destruction is less than $400, the person may receive less than a year in a San Diego County jail for the misdemeanor and a fine no more than $1,000.
  • If the destruction is less than $400, with a previous conviction of vandalism or graffiti, the person may receive no more than one year in a county jail and a fine of no more than $5,000. 

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It recently made national headlines that a creepy clown craze has swept the globe. Across the nation, police have received reports of people in creepy clown costumes trying to lure children or scare people. While the state of California seems to have escaped it the past several months, creepy clowns have official hit Southern California. Through a series of Facebook and social media posts, it was announced that clowns would be visiting Los Angeles County schools, including Pasadena and Whittier.

In Fontana, California, a 14-year-old high school student was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats against students on social media. The teen had taken “a scary clown picture” under the name of “FontanaKillerClown” and posted it on Instagram. He was arrested at school and booked into a juvenile detention center. In Glendora, California, police also arrested a 19-year-old man on suspicion of making threats against his old high school through social media accounts dedicated to clowns. The Temecula Valley Unified School District also suffered threats through social media that the schools in the region were going to be shot up by clowns. Lastly, the LAPD has reported that there have been pranksters that have threatened the general public with violence by dressing up as clowns and following/chasing them with kitchen knives.   

While some think dressing up as a scary clown and scaring people is a funny prank, law enforcement certainly does not think so. The wave of clown terror is affecting actual clowns who depend on their profession to pay the bills, and also has the potential to affect the way the nation celebrates Halloween. It is not recommended that you dress up as a clown or any other objectively scary character to threaten or scare people.

Laws that Pertain to Halloween Pranks

  • Criminal threats: You may not realize it, but even dressing up and chasing someone with a knife can constitute a criminal threat. All that is required is that the victim feared for his or her life or safety. See CA Penal Code § 422.
  • Vandalism: Vandalism does not have to involve breaking something or graffiti. Toilet papering and egging your neighbor’s house can still result in criminal charges. See CA Penal Code § 594.
  • Trespassing: If you enter someone else’s property with intent to damage that property (ie. throw eggs), you may also face criminal trespass charges. See CA Penal Code § 602.
  • Restrictions on Sex Offenders: Some states have restricted registered sex offenders from passing out candy, etc. on Halloween. California allows police to do checks to make sure some registered offenders are inside their homes with the lights out.

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