It happens every year about this time.
Law-enforcement officials will tell you that Halloween is one of the most active seasons for complaints of vandalism.
Many of the seasonal pranks start innocently enough – decorating a friend’s house with toilet paper, wrapping a friend’s car with plastic wrap or soaping a friend’s car windows. It’s all fun and games among friends.
But those innocent pranks turn serious – and expensive – when they begin damaging property or intimidating innocent people.
In recent weeks, Vandalia police have handled multiple reports of someone using spray paint to deface the gazebo in Lincoln Park in downtown Vandalia.
Several sections of concrete capstones on the brick walls in the municipal parking lot at Fifth and Johnson streets have been removed and broken in recent weeks.
And someone caused thousands of dollars of damage last weekend by scratching the finish on several cars at a local auto dealership.
Those are not friendly Halloween pranks. Those are mean-spirited incidents of vandalism. And they deserve serious punishment.
As a community, we must all do our part to preserve the assets that make us unique. Our parks and historic sites are chief among those. Businesses shouldn’t have to absorb the additional costs from senseless acts of destruction. And homeowners shouldn’t have to live in fear of destructive trespassers coming onto their property.
If you have information about those involved, or if you see suspicious activity happening around our community, it’s your civic duty to talk with those involved – or to call law enforcement authorities if you’re not comfortable getting involved directly.
Fun and harmless pranks are one thing. Acts of vandalism are quite another. In this season, we must recognize the difference.