Vandalism, by definition, is a deliberately mischievous or malicious destruction or damage of property: a vandalic act. For years, Castleton has suffered from such acts of ruthless destruction, but has recently seen a dramatic spike in the reported number of incidents. In 2005 thousands of dollars worth of damage to vandalized signs. In 2008 several vehicles broken into; the vandal shattering all the windows.
But 2009 has been worse.There has been damage to a residence hall elevator (a vandal removed all the buttons from the Babcock Hall elevator) and to several vending machines during Fall break. There was $3,200 in damages to Castleton Hall when someone layered the walls, floors and rugs with green and purple paint.
And on Nov. 30, the first night back from Thanksgiving break, Castleton was struck again.
According to Bob Godlewski, director of Public Safety, the act occurred around 1 a.m. when a car in the Campus Center parking lot received blows to all four of it’s windows.
“It was completely devastated,” said Godlewski.
Although there are cameras located sporadically around some of the parking lots, the culprit was not caught on tape and has remained unknown.
Buut a new tips line at extension 6043 might pay off, according to Godlewski.
“We have had some people who have come forward on the tip line,” said Godlewski.
An investigation is currently underway.
In addition to the random tip-line, a “Community-Watch Service” is in the mix. The service, as Godlewski explained, would essentially be a group of people who would not only track down vandalism, but any type of crime. The group would not be solely comprised of public safety officers, but average students.
“Our staff just isn’t big enough to cover the campus at all times,” Godlewski explained. “We need people ready, willing, and able to stop a crime from occurring.”
Director of Residence Life Michael Robilotto, another supporter of the Community-Watch Service, said that since there has not been a specific pattern to the acts, and no clear link as to who has committed the crime, it is important to have such a service.
“It is going to take more than one or two people,” said Robilotto.
Castleton senior Mike Miller, who is the chief justice of the college court, explained that there have been a few incidents of minor vandalism in which students have been caught. But far too often that the vandals go unscathed, he said.
“It is extremely important to educate students on what to do if they see something happening,” said Miller. “I know I have called Public Safety before.”
The new tips line will be in place for the remainder of the semester and can be anonymous.
In addition, any person interested in helping to establish the Community-Watch Program should contact Bob Godlewski at ext. 1288.
“I believe in a small community, and when it’s this type of situation I believe everybody should work together for the greater good of the community,” said Godlewski.