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Top Strategies to Protect Your Vacant Commercial Property from Antisocial Behaviour

Vacant commercial properties can be magnets for antisocial behaviour, which can lead to significant financial losses and community deterioration. As a commercial landlord or property manager, understanding how to safeguard your vacant properties is crucial. This article provides comprehensive strategies to protect your investment from various forms of antisocial behaviour.

graffiti all over doors of commercial property
Vandalism on walls

Key Highlights


  • Understanding Antisocial Behaviour: Recognise different types of antisocial activities and their impacts.

  • Financial and Community Impact: Be aware of the financial and social repercussions of neglecting security.

  • Proactive Security Measures: Implement comprehensive security strategies, including risk assessments, CCTV, alarms, and security guards.

  • Tailored Approaches: Customise your security plan based on location, property size, and past incidents.

  • Community Engagement: Foster relationships with local residents, businesses, and law enforcement to enhance overall security.


Statistics on Antisocial Behaviour in the UK

Understanding the scope of antisocial behaviour can help property owners and managers appreciate the importance of proactive measures. Here are some key statistics on antisocial behaviour in the UK:


Reported Incidents


Number of Incidents:

During 2023, England and Wales's police forces received 933,049 crime reports about antisocial behaviour. This is a decrease of 11% from 2022's figure of 1,045,401 reports of antisocial behaviour, giving an overall crime rate of 16 per 1,000 people in 2023 and a rate of 18 per 1,000 people for 2022


Regional Differences


Most Affected Areas:


The most dangerous cities for antisocial behaviour are Haringey, Middlesbrough, and Newcastle upon Tyne, with crime rates of 40, 38, and 35 per 1,000 daytime population respectively. The most dangerous region for antisocial behaviour is Tyne & Wear, which recorded a rate of 31 offences per 1,000 people in 2023.


Safest Areas:


The City of London is the safest area for antisocial behaviour, with a crime rate of 1.2 in 2023. Milton Keynes and Wolverhampton follow, with crime rates per 1,000 daytime population of 7 and 8 respectively



Understanding Antisocial Behaviour

Broken window in property

Antisocial behaviour encompasses a range of activities that negatively impact properties and communities. Common types of antisocial behaviour include:




Vandalism involves the deliberate destruction or damage of property. This can range from breaking windows to defacing walls, leading to costly repairs and a diminished property value.

Vandalism is often a visible sign of neglect, which can attract further undesirable activities. It’s important to understand that vandalism can vary in its forms, from minor graffiti to significant structural damage.




Graffiti is a common form of vandalism that can deface the aesthetic appeal of a property. Removing graffiti can be expensive and time-consuming, and repeated incidents can tarnish the reputation of the area.

Graffiti can also be used to mark territory by gangs, which can escalate into more severe criminal activities. It’s not just about the cost of removal, but also the psychological impact on the community, signalling that the area is not monitored or cared for.



Loitering refers to individuals lingering around the property without any legitimate purpose. This can make potential tenants or buyers uncomfortable and can lead to further antisocial activities.

Loitering can create a sense of unease and fear among the community members and can be a precursor to more serious offenses, such as drug dealing or vandalism. Properties that become known as loitering spots often see a decline in foot traffic from legitimate customers or tenants.


Drug Use


Vacant properties can become hotspots for illegal drug use and trafficking. This not only poses legal risks but also attracts other criminal activities, making the area unsafe. Drug use on the property can lead to significant health and safety hazards, including the presence of needles and other drug paraphernalia.

It can also attract a transient population, leading to increased incidents of theft and violence. The presence of drug activity can severely impact the perception of safety in the surrounding area, deterring potential tenants or investors.


Environmental Damage


Environmental damage includes activities like illegal dumping and littering, which can make the property unsightly and unhealthy, deterring prospective tenants and increasing cleanup costs.

Environmental damage can also attract pests, leading to further health and safety issues. Illegal dumping can range from household garbage to hazardous materials, posing significant cleanup challenges and potential legal liabilities. Maintaining the environmental integrity of your property is essential in preserving its value and appeal.


The Impact of Antisocial Behaviour


Antisocial behaviour can have severe repercussions for property owners and communities, including:


Financial Losses


Repairing vandalised property and cleaning up graffiti can be costly. These expenses can quickly add up, especially if incidents are frequent. Insurance premiums may also increase as a result of repeated claims.

The financial impact extends beyond immediate repair costs to include long-term depreciation of the property’s value.


Reduced Property Value


Persistent antisocial activities can lower the property’s market value. Potential buyers or tenants may be deterred by the ongoing issues, leading to prolonged vacancies and lower rental or sale prices.

The overall attractiveness of the property diminishes, making it harder to sell or lease at a desirable rate. Furthermore, neighbouring properties can also suffer a decline in value, creating a wider economic impact.


Community Decline


Such behaviours can lead to a perception of neglect and insecurity, affecting the entire neighbourhood. A property plagued by antisocial behaviour can act as a focal point for further decline, attracting more undesirable activities and deterring positive community engagement.

This can lead to a cycle of decay, where the community feels less safe and more abandoned, resulting in decreased local investment and deteriorating public morale.


Legal Issues


Property owners may face legal consequences if their vacant property becomes a hub for illegal activities. Local authorities may impose fines or mandate corrective actions, adding to the financial burden. Additionally, property owners might be held liable for any injuries or damages that occur on their premises, leading to potential lawsuits and further financial strain.


Proactive Measures to Safeguard Your Property


To mitigate the risks associated with antisocial behavior, it’s essential to take proactive measures. Here are key strategies:


Conducting Risk Assessments


Perform regular risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities. Understanding the specific risks your property faces will help in devising an effective security plan. Risk assessments should consider the property's location, historical incidents, and potential for future risks.

Engage with security professionals to conduct thorough assessments and develop tailored strategies to mitigate identified risks.


Installing CCTV and Intruder Alarms


cctv camera system caught a break in
CCTV camera system

CCTV cameras act as a deterrent and provide evidence in case of incidents. Pairing cameras with alarm systems enhances security by alerting you to unauthorised access in real-time.

Modern CCTV systems offer remote monitoring capabilities, allowing property owners to keep an eye on their property from anywhere. Alarms can be linked to security services, ensuring a rapid response to any breaches. Additionally, visible security measures, such as cameras and alarm systems, can deter potential offenders by signalling that the property is monitored.


Using Steel Screens and Doors


steel security screens installed in windows of vacant property
Steel screens installed in vacant property to protect windows

Steel screens and doors offer robust protection against break-ins. They are difficult to breach and provide a visible deterrent to would-be vandals. Steel barriers can protect windows and doors, making it harder for unauthorised individuals to gain access.

These security measures are particularly effective for properties in high-risk areas or those that have experienced previous incidents of vandalism. The use of steel screens and doors also reinforces the message that the property is secure and cared for.


Employing Security Guards


Hiring security personnel ensures a physical presence on-site, which can significantly reduce the likelihood of antisocial behaviour. Guards can patrol the property, respond to incidents, and liaise with law enforcement if necessary.

The presence of security guards can deter potential offenders and provide peace of mind to neighbouring properties and the community. Security personnel can also perform regular checks and maintenance, ensuring that any issues are addressed promptly.


Maintaining the Property


A well-maintained property signals that it is monitored and cared for, discouraging antisocial behaviour. Regular maintenance includes cleaning up litter, repairing damage promptly, and ensuring the property does not appear abandoned.

Landscaping, painting, and minor repairs can make a significant difference in the property's appearance, deterring potential vandals or squatters.

An attractive and well-kept property is less likely to attract negative attention and more likely to appeal to potential tenants or buyers.


Installing Lighting


Proper lighting can deter antisocial behaviour by eliminating dark areas where individuals might hide or engage in illicit activities. Installing motion-activated lights around the property can be an effective and energy-efficient way to enhance security.

Well-lit properties are less attractive to vandals and loiterers, as the increased visibility reduces the likelihood of getting caught.

Ensure that all entry points, parking areas, and secluded spots are adequately lit to discourage antisocial behaviour.


Fencing and Perimeter Security

security fence v-mesh installed at a commercial property
Security Fence

Installing robust fencing around the property can help prevent unauthorised access. Fencing can be combined with other security measures, such as alarms and CCTV, to create a comprehensive security system.

High-quality fencing materials, such as steel or reinforced mesh, offer greater durability and resistance to tampering. Additionally, using anti-climb paint or barbed wire can further enhance perimeter security.

Regularly inspect and maintain fencing to ensure it remains in good condition and provides effective protection.


Community Engagement


Engaging with the local community can help protect your property by fostering a sense of collective responsibility. Neighbours can act as additional eyes and ears, reporting suspicious activities and helping to deter antisocial behaviour.

Building strong relationships with local residents, businesses, and law enforcement can create a supportive network that contributes to the overall security of the area. Community engagement initiatives, such as neighbourhood watch programs or local security meetings, can enhance collaboration and communication.


Tailored Security Strategies


It is crucial to tailor your security strategies to the specific needs of your property. Factors to consider include:




Properties in high-crime areas may require more robust security measures. Understanding the local crime trends and working with law enforcement can help in developing effective strategies.

Assessing the neighbourhood’s demographics, traffic patterns, and existing security infrastructure can provide valuable insights into potential risks and appropriate countermeasures.


Property Size


Larger properties may need additional CCTV coverage and security personnel. The size and layout of the property will influence the type and extent of security measures required. For instance, properties with multiple buildings or extensive outdoor areas may benefit from a combination of static and mobile security solutions.

Regularly reviewing and adjusting security plans based on the property’s size and usage can ensure comprehensive protection.


Previous Incidents


Historical data on past incidents can help in planning preventive measures. Analysing previous occurrences of antisocial behaviour can reveal patterns and hotspots that require targeted interventions.

Implementing lessons learned from past incidents can enhance the effectiveness of security strategies and reduce the likelihood of recurrence. Continuously monitoring and updating security measures based on ongoing observations and feedback is essential for maintaining a proactive approach.


Property Usage


The intended use of the property can influence the type of security measures required. For example, a property slated for redevelopment may face different risks compared to one awaiting a new tenant.

Understanding the property's future plans and aligning security measures accordingly can ensure that potential risks are adequately addressed.

Communicating with stakeholders, such as developers or prospective tenants, can provide additional insights into the specific security needs of the property.




Protecting your vacant commercial property from antisocial behaviour is vital for safeguarding your investment and maintaining community standards.

By understanding the types of antisocial activities and their impacts, and by implementing proactive and tailored security measures, you can effectively deter such behaviour and ensure your property remains secure and attractive to potential tenants or buyers. Taking these steps not only protects your property but also contributes to the overall safety and well-being of the community.


Investing in comprehensive security measures, engaging with the community, and maintaining your property are key strategies in preventing antisocial behaviour.

Regularly reviewing and updating your security plan based on evolving risks and feedback can further enhance the effectiveness of your efforts.

Ultimately, a proactive and tailored approach to property security can safeguard your investment, support community well-being, and foster a safer, more attractive environment for everyone.


Protect your vacant commercial property from antisocial behaviour with proactive measures like CCTV, security fence and regular maintenance. Propertysec offers expert security solutions, including advanced surveillance systems, robust steel screens, and comprehensive mobile patrol services tailored to your needs. Get in touch today.

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