Cops and Courts

Police offer tips to prevent vandalism after seeing rise in incidents

The Morgantown Police Department has recently been seeing a slight uptick in vandalism reports — mainly in the downtown area of the city. 

MPD Chief Eric Powell said most of the recent reports have been for destruction of property, but several months to almost a year ago, the department was also receiving a high volume of reports of catalytic converter thefts. 

Powell said any reports of vandalism the MPD receives are investigated by the department and the area is patrolled by officers regularly, but there are preventative measures residents can take to deter would-be criminals.

Locking vehicle doors, making sure keys are not left in the vehicle, and ensuring all windows are closed will help prevent vehicle theft. It is also a good idea to park in well-lit areas and not leave valuable items inside the car. If possible, install an audible alarm system or anti-theft device in the vehicle.

Vandalism and destruction of property can be prevented by identifying weaknesses around the property.  Powell said weak points could be unlit areas, potential areas ideal for defacement, and valuable equipment that could be stolen.

If possible, installing visual security clues like video surveillance monitoring and signage, strategic lighting, and protective landscaping can be major deterrents to vandals.

Powell said one of the goals of vandalism is to have the destruction on display for people to see.  Responding quickly by immediately removing things like graffiti can take away that satisfaction and can be helpful in preventing future vandalism.

Any act of vandalism should be reported to the police, Powell said. The police can only respond to crimes that are reported, so if you see something, say something.

If you are witness to an act of vandalism or any other crime being committed — call 911.

TWEET @DominionPostWV