At the end of a workday, all you want to do is get in your car and get home as fast as possible. Nothing ruins those plans quite like walking out to the employee parking lot and seeing a shattered windshield with a rock in the passenger seat, or finding distinctive scratch marks on your driver’s side door and realizing someone has keyed your car.
Your car has been vandalized, which means you’re now a crime victim instead of just another employee leaving the office at the end of a long day. Unfortunately, that means your day just got a bit more complicated.
Report the damage
It’s best to call the police as soon as possible. If your car is still driveable, you may be tempted to take it home before you do anything, but that’s not the best idea. The damage occurred in the parking lot, so you need to give police the chance to check the scene for any evidence. If the vandal or vandals left some obvious clue to their identity behind, then it’s more likely your case will result in an arrest. The penalties for criminal mischief vary wildly. It will depend on the jurisdiction where the crime happened, as well as how much damage there was. If the damage was costly enough, it could even be a felony. There’s also a decent chance that your car isn’t the only one in the neighborhood that’s been hit, so calling the cops gives investigators a chance at establishing a pattern as they continue the search for suspects.
Police may also want to look at any footage from security cameras in the area, so if your workplace has security cameras overlooking the parking lot, that can only help.
You’ll also probably want to call your insurance agency and file a claim. They can help you cover any costs associated with repairing your car. If the car’s windshield is shattered, you’ll need to explore options for auto glass repair near you. If there’s damage to the body of the car, you’ll need to take it to a body shop.
Another option is to take your car to the dealership where you purchased it. Dealership service technicians may have specific knowledge about your particular make and model that could be hard to find elsewhere. If the dealership has auto technicians whom you’ve worked with before and know you can trust, it might be worth giving them a chance to restore your car to its previous condition.
Finally, you need to inform your workplace that a crime happened on company property. Any decent employer will want to know if someone is going after cars owned by employees. Maybe they’ll want to beef up security in response to the vandalism, or maybe they just want to send out a companywide memo telling employees to be on the lookout for anything suspicious in the parking lot. It doesn’t have to be a big deal; just go to to your boss the next day and tell them that someone vandalized your car. They should know if any additional steps need to be taken in order to officially document the incident.
It’s normal to feel a bit unsettled for a few days after the incident. Getting your car repaired will go a long way towards alleviating those uneasy feelings. Remind yourself that the incident probably wasn’t anything personal. Someone decided they wanted to do something stupid, and for whatever reason, they decided your vehicle would make a good target. It almost certainly doesn’t mean someone is out to get you. It was just dumb luck.