Assalamualaikum and a very good morning to the honourable judges, the ever trustworthy timekeeper, teachers and fellow friends.
Today, I am going to talk about vandalism among teenagers and its effects. I am sure vandalism is a widespread problem that infuriates both the public and the authorities. All of us must have experienced, witnessed or even committed vandalism at least once in our lifetime.
But, what is vandalism? According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia in the internet, Vandalism is the conspicuous defacement or destruction of a structure or symbol against the will of the owner or the governing body. In other words, vandalism destroys the property of others or the public’s.
Most of the experts in sociology and psychology highlight intentionality, destructiveness, and property ownership as the criteria of vandalism. This form of destructive behavior is thus motivated not by profit but by other factors. Cohen (1984) suggests that acts of vandalism are motivated by anger, boredom, catharsis, erosion of already damaged objects, or aesthetic factors. In other words, vandalism is so annoying. It is a Mindless destruction that serves as mindless entertainment.
For example, the willful destruction of a car window for no obvious reason gives the vandals possibly a few seconds of entertainment. They do not consider, or feel empathy for the loss or inconvenience of the victim. This is because they feel envy, or want to show recklessness. Maybe they want to be accepted or to show bravado in gang cultures. Or it could be because of dissatisfaction with the victim or society.
Who are the offenders?
Those who vandalize are typically young, male, and acting in small groups. They are roughly 12-15 years old, and become less frequent as the students reach upper secondary school.
Many vandals are not good academically and may have been truant, suspended, or expelled. They have a poor understanding of their behaviour's impact on others and are more concerned of themselves. Offenders are more likely to be emotionally disturbed than their peers who are not involved in vandalism. They are more critical of their classes, teachers, or school in general.
What are the types of vandalism?
Examples of vandalism in schools include graffiti art in the toilets, lab tables, classroom furniture and walls. However, I believe you will agree what art is there in the vulgar graffiti using the ‘f---‘ word? Sometimes, we can see on the desks in our classroom, the proclamation of undying love, such as ‘Abu loves Mek Semah forever’. Isn’t that silly?
Nevertheless another example of vandalism is the destruction of public property such as public telephone, vending machine, fences, and even sign boards or billboard liberation.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
What are the effects of vandalism?
In the case of vandalism to private property, the owner who is the victim, may feel afraid and apprehensive. The victims are fearful that the destruction will occur again. In consequence, they are restless and feel insecure. Furthermore, the destruction of private property causes a lot of monetary loss to the victims. If the property is not covered by insurance, the victims have to dig their own pockets.
For the damage of the public property, the incurred cost that is needed to repair the damage is also very high. A lot of money has to be used in order to do the repair job. Most of the times, the money are obtained from the tax payers’ pocket. Thus the high incidence of vandalism in our society has sometimes made it goes unnoticed, or not be removed. This is possibly because it may be a fruitless attempt, as it will be vandalised once again. Consequently, the people who lack facilities are the public. The public has to go without the benefits and the facilities.
Not only that, vandalism also affects the environment. For instance, the harm on the environment occurs when the vandals engrave on trees and throw the cigarette butts mindlessly. Hence, it causes damage on the affected areas. A children playground which is supposed to be beautiful and serene, has turned into a crime infested place.
In the economical and sociological aspects, the areas that are largely vandalised gives out a bad image. They will lose values and face. No investors will come to build factories or offices in crime polluted places. Hence, the places will remain lethargic and undeveloped. As a result, it affects the society.
In conclusion, vandalism damages not only the property, but the ruins are greater. Vandalism is costly financially, affects the environment and causes sociological damages. It inflicts the greater degradation of the affected areas which may include other crimes and socially unacceptable behaviour.
Hence, we as individual must be responsible in carrying our role in our society. We must have conscience in whatever we do. This is because we have religious beliefs that deny and prohibit vandalism. Let’s create a healthy and safe environment for everybody.
That’s all from me. Thank you very much.