Criminal Damage

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The damage of your property in a variety of ways as listed below. Prevention is considered difficult as many times criminal damage can be the result of a failed crime. A rock through a window that sets off the alarm is possibly a random act, but more likely a burglar that did not gain entry, or was testing the alarm. Criminal Damage is a problematic crime because in a vast majority of the cases, there is no physical evidence to link the suspect to the crime. In the absence of eye witnesses or surveillance equipment, these types of cases can be difficult to solve and even harder to prosecute.

The criminal code definition of Criminal Damage is defined as

13-1602. Criminal damage; classification

  • A. A person commits criminal damage by recklessly:
    1. Defacing or damaging property of another person; or
    2. Tampering with property of another person so as substantially to impair its function or value; or
    3. Tampering with the property of a utility.
    4. Parking any vehicle in such a manner as to deprive livestock of access to the only reasonably available water.
    5. Drawing or inscribing a message, slogan, sign or symbol that is made on any public or private building, structure or surface, except the ground, and that is made without permission of the owner.
  • B. Criminal damage is punished as follows:
    1. Criminal damage is a class 4 felony if the person recklessly damages property of another in an amount of ten thousand dollars or more, or if the person recklessly causes impairment of the functioning of any utility.
    2. Criminal damage is a class 5 felony if the person recklessly damages property of another in an amount of two thousand dollars or more but less than ten thousand dollars.
    3. Criminal damage is a class 6 felony if the person recklessly damages property of another in an amount of more than two hundred fifty dollars but less than two thousand dollars.
    4. In all other cases criminal damage is a class 2 misdemeanor.
    In the event you are a victim of criminal damage, we suggest the following response:
  • Call the non emergency police number. In Phoenix, that number is 602-262-6151
    Expect a report. In many cities you may be called and the report taken over the phone. If the report is taken in person, ask for photographs to be taken. If they are not, then do it yourself for your records. If the report is taken by phone, then photograph the damage and retain the photographs.
  • Obtain a written repair estimate. Retain a copy of your repair estimate and photographs. Mail the repair estimate and photographs to your local police department with your report number clearly written on the envelope. An example would be: Phoenix Police 620 W. Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85003 Attn: criminal damage detective for report number 2003-0000001 This will ensure that it is routed to the assigned detective.

If your case has suspect information, usable evidence or witnesses that were not available to the reporting officer, then call you local police department and determine who your case detective is. Make sure you eventually get to talk to your detective in person so you can be sure to get what ever may be needed to keep the case moving. The key here is "NO DAMAGE ESTIMATE, NO CASE." Regardless of how many people are arrested. If you read the definition for criminal damage you understand why the damage estimate is so crucial. The dollar value on the damage determines the severity of the crime. So in order to charge a suspect with the appropriate charge, we need to know how much damage was done in documented fact.


Graffiti

Graffiti is criminal damage of a specific nature. Whether it is "Tommy loves Tammy" or gang tagging, it must be removed quickly. The following steps are recommended when your business becomes the victim of criminal damage.

  • Call the police for a report. They may take the report over the phone. If so, take photographs and get a damage estimate just like above.
  • Get the report number from the officer taking the report. Obtain a written repair estimate. Retain a copy of your repair estimate and photographs. Mail the repair estimate and photographs to your local police department with your report number clearly written on the envelope. An example would be: Phoenix Police 620 W. Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85003 Attn: criminal damage detective for report number 2003-0000001 This will ensure that it is routed to the assigned detective.

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Call the Graffiti hotline at 602-262-7327 for county wide assistance. You should expect to be put in contact with Graffiti Busters at 602-495-7014. Each city has their own version of this "paint out service", so ask for it if it is not offered.