We all pay the cost for stupid acts of vandalism

We all pay the cost for stupid acts of vandalism

While it is heart warming to learn the Canberra community has rallied behind both the Koomari disability service and Woden's athletics clubs after two acts of vandalism earlier this week, the fact is it shouldn't have been necessary.

Vandalism is arguably the most stupid and unjustifiable of all non-violent crimes. It almost invariably turns out to be the work of those who are either frustrated by their own sense of powerlessness or who are trying to achieve some form of questionable notoriety within a like-minded peer group.


When, as in the case of the Woden athletics club attacks, the offences include arson, some form of perverted gratification is also likely at play.

Whatever the motive, these are not victimless crimes. In the case of the attack on the Woden-based Koomari disability service four vehicles had their windows and windscreens smashed. This left them unable to be used to transport the organisation's 100 clients to a range of medical and other appointments.


The idiots responsible have obviously given no thought to the possible consequences of their actions for the disadvantaged individuals, many of whom are battling challenging health conditions and long term disabilities with a grace and cheerfulness few of us could match, who rely on that service.

If they had then surely they would have stayed their hands.

The Koomari attack is believed to have occurred shortly after a storage shed at the Woden Athletics Park was put to the torch on Monday night.

That particular act of idiocy threatened to force ACT Athletics to cancel its meet this weekend and destroyed more than $200,000 worth of equipment, much of it paid for through voluntary fund raising efforts, belonging to five different groups.

That's a lot of sausage sangers and cans of soft drink that will have to be sold.

Ultimately it is the community that bears the cost; either through donations and support for volunteer organisations, increased insurance premiums or taxes and rates.

Graffiti removal alone was costing the ACT an estimated $700,000 a year in 2013. That figure could reasonably be expected to be well beyond that by now.

In 2016 vandalism to Canberra's community playgrounds, valued amenities that are prized by those who have the good fortune to live close by to them, was running at about $120,000 a year.

It is just over two months since opportunistic thieves and vandals caused an estimated $100,000 damage to West Basin's Henry Rolland Park by taking brass fittings from 26 benches, 21 bollards, three bins and two drinking fountains.

As is always the case with such incidents, the value of the damage caused was far greater than any financial gain those responsible could have made from selling the metal.

While some may be tempted to shrug their shoulders and put the latest incidents down to the school holidays that just isn't good enough. Actions such as these should not be allowed to be pleaded away as youthful indiscretions - if that's what they are - or the result of other pressures.

Those responsible need to be apprehended and then prosecuted with the full force of the law.

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