Vehicle Vandalism is on the Rise

Vehicle vandalism is becoming a common crime in Lufkin. Other than installing alarm systems and motion sensors, there isn't much you can do to protect your ride from vandalism. And car keying is a costly crime.

"If the scratch is all the way down one side of the car [or] if it's on the door or fender, that's gonna be a big variable," said Charles Dempsey, General Manager of Knight Motor Company in Lufkin. "It could start probably as low as $50 or $75 if it's something that we would just buff out, and it could go up into the thousand dollar range pretty easy depending on the color of the vehicle and exactly how deep and wide the damage is."

Vandalism is criminal mischief, but can quickly become a felony if the cost of damages exceeds $1,500.

Lt. David Young of the Lufkin Police Department said, "Going after someone's property is a coward's way out. If you have a problem with someone, confront them directly. There's no need to go around behind their back and damage their property."

Knight Motor Company buys and sells used cars. Some of the vehicles are already damaged before they get there, but automobiles parked right on the lot have also been hit by vandals.

"I've had three or four damaged in a row with something that appeared to be a screwdriver mark all the way down the side of each vehicle, and we've spent thousands of dollars to repair those vehicles," Dempsey said.

Lufkin police officers get reports almost daily of slashed tires and keyed cars. Usually, the victim has a suspect in mind, but it's difficult to prove because that person is long gone by the time authorities are called. Police said unless someone is caught in the act of vehicle vandalism or there are witnesses, it is difficult to charge someone with the offense.