In the last four months the number of incidents of vandalism at Murray State has more than doubled the total number of incidents that took place last year.
According to the Murray State Police’s annual security report, three incidents of vandalism were reported involving the University. Since January, eight cases of vandalism have already been opened.
Since 2009, the total number of incidents involving vandalism has not exceeded seven.
Captain Roy Dunaway of the Murray State Police said vandalism is not generally a problem for Murray State and he believes the jump in vandalism is simply a coincidence.
Dunaway said vandalism is defined as damage to property that belongs to another or the tampering with property to knowingly endanger others and does not always involve spray painting a building, as many have come to understand the term.
“Vandalism can include keying someone’s vehicle, slashing someone’s tires, destroying a roommate’s computer, tearing down a bulletin board in the residence halls, setting off a fire extinguisher in a building for no reason or any other defacing, damage or destruction to property belonging to another,” he said.
On campus, he said, the most reported vandalisms are of vehicles. Of the eight cases of vandalism opened since January, four have involved cars and the rest have involved University-owned items including signs and a door.
The charge of vandalism by Kentucky Revised Statutes falls under the blanket classification, “criminal mischief”, and has three degrees of increasing penalties.
Dunaway said Murray State does not tolerate the defacing or damaging of its property and in any cases involving the University, they will seek restitution as a portion of the sentencing, which he said can be expensive.
Besides vandalism cases being resolved through the repaying of damages done to any property, sentencing can also include the paying of fines as well as jail time. Third-degree criminal mischief, the least serious of criminal mischief offenses, can be punishable with a fine of $250 and a maximum of 90 days in jail.
Dunaway said defacing or damaging University property costs all taxpayers and also is partially factored into the cost Murray State’s tuition.
The best measure The Murray State Police have to prevent vandalism, Dunaway said, is to utilize patrol officers who monitor the parking lots and through Racer Patrol’s surveillance of the exterior of buildings on foot. He said reports from the housing staff and students also help deter and lead to the arrest of vandals.
Story by Ben Manhanke, Assistant News Editor.