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Criminal damage and arson

Criminal damage is when someone intentionally and maliciously damages your home, property or vehicles. It can include graffiti and other vandalism. Sometimes the damage is not intentional but is instead caused by someone’s dangerous or reckless behaviour.

If someone deliberately sets fire to your home or belongings, this is called arson. It can range from someone setting your wheelie bin on fire, through to someone setting fire to your business. As well as being damaging and costly, arson is incredibly dangerous. Fires can easily spread out of control and lives can be put at risk.

You may also be affected by:

How it can affect you

If someone has targeted you and caused damage to your home or property, this is likely to leave you feeling unsafe and threatened.

Even if someone has caused the damage through thoughtless, reckless behaviour, rather than malice, you may still feel vulnerable.

The levels of criminal damage can vary massively – you may be dealing with a scratch on your car and the inconvenience of an insurance claim, or facing significant financial losses because of extensive damage to your property through arson.

Even if the damage is perceived to be minor, repeated incidents can have a significant impact on people and neighbourhoods, causing a great deal of fear and distress.

What can you do?

If your home or property has been damaged, try to get it repaired as soon as possible. Things left in a state of disrepair can - unfortunately - attract more damage.

Note down any events that you think are related to the incident. For example, harassment or further attacks on your property. Record as much detail as possible, including the date and time of anything that takes place, and pass this on to the police. (Remember you can report anonymously at Crimestoppers.)

If possible, try to get photographic or video evidence. But you should do this carefully and not put yourself at risk.

Think about what home security you currently have in place, and consider upgrading it.

Report any accumulated rubbish or fly-tipping to your local council - don't let it become a target for arson.

If you want any advice about protecting your property from fire, want a free home-safety check, or have concerns about arson contact Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service for information.

How to report it

In an emergency: dial 999

An emergency is when a crime is being committed or has just been witnessed, there is a risk of injury, or a risk of serious damage to property.

In a non-emergency: dial 101

Use this number to report a non-emergency incident or make a general inquiry.

Report anonymously

Contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Crimestoppers is a charity which is entirely independent of police and never share details with police of people who have got in touch.

Find help and support

If you have been affected by criminal damage, you can be left feeling anxious and distressed. It is normal to feel this way and help is available. It doesn’t matter when the crime took place, and you don’t have to have reported it to the police.

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