Legally, it is only criminal damage if it was done intentionally, so accidental damage does not count and something that isn’t permanent doesn’t count either. So while smashing a wing mirror is criminal damage, throwing eggs at a car isn’t, because it is not permanent. However, it may still be a crime – particularly if it happens more than once – as it may be considered antisocial behaviour.
So if you’ve been affected by the crime, whether you’re upset, scared, sad or angry, there are people you can talk to and who can help you cope with what’s happened. And if you decide you want to report the crime to police, it will be taken seriously.
Graffiti might be regarded as art by some people, and in some places; but to the police and to the owners of buildings, unauthorised art is criminal damage. Arson – deliberately trying to damage a place or someone’s property by setting fire to it – is also criminal damage.
Sometimes the damage is a one-off, but it may also be repeated – which may become antisocial behaviour, bullying, or even harassment. Or it may be targeted at you or your family because of your identity – perhaps your race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, or because of your disability – which is known as hate crime.