Vandalism is generally the damage, destruction, defacing, or alteration of tangible public or private property, done with criminal intent (intentionally or knowingly). Vandalism charges often arise from (1) damage to a home or dwelling; (2) damage to a place of business; (3) damage to a motor vehicle; (4) damage to a school; (5) defacement or destruction of public or private property (graffiti, etc.); or (6) tampering with public water, gas, power, or communications.
Vandalism is sometimes classified as criminal mischief or reckless damage or destruction of property under state laws. These laws vary from state to state and are generally located in a state’s statutes—usually in the penal or criminal code.