Definition of vandalism
After the East Germanic tribe of the Vandals, which looted Rome in 455.
- Willful damage or destruction, often of shared property.
As we turned down the street I was appalled by the vandalism; spray-paint and smashed windows were everywhere.
- vandalise, vandalize
Vandalism is the behaviour attributed to the Vandals, by the Romans, in respect of culture: ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable. Such action includes criminal damage, defacement, graffiti and crass erection of an eyesore.
Vandalism as crime
Private citizens commit vandalism when they willfully damage or deface the property of others or the commons. Some vandalism may qualify as culture jamming or sniggling: it is thought by some to be artistic in nature even though carried out illegally or without the property owner's permission. Examples include at least some graffiti art, billboard "liberation" and possibly crop circles. Criminal vandalism takes many forms. Graffiti on public property is common in many inner cities as part of a gang culture; however, other more serious forms of vandalism that may take place during public unrest such as rioting can involve the willful destruction of public and private property. Vandalism per se is sometimes considered one of the less serious common crimes, but it can become quite serious and distressing when committed extensively, violently or as an expression of hatred and intimidation.
- Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
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