The Experience of Vandalism

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On the week of January 30th, Tulsa Economic Development Corporation’s (aka TEDC Creative Capital) office building was vandalized. The windows on the door were damaged twice by an unidentified suspect. However, TEDC was not the only business at 3rd and Cheyenne struck by a vandal.

Right next door to TEDC, the Wright Building Suites were also vandalized. Across the street, another office building had a window broken, not for the first time, and a restaurant employee’s windshield was bashed. All of this happened within the span of three weeks. 

TEDC Creative Capital

A police report was filed and cameras were installed after the fact, but the unidentified suspect that broke the office building’s front door has not been apprehended. 

The front door and windows were initially affixed to an old Catholic Church in Chicago. Irreplaceable, both were repaired with a different type of material, losing their unique style and nostalgia. 

Wright Building Suites 

The Wright Building is home to a pharmacy and various other tenants. s. On Feb. 18th, someone broke two of their windows in the front of the building.

Based on the number of people in and out of the building, they were able to narrow down the hours that the vandalism had to occur. Between 9pm and 1am is the likely time frame. 

Owner of the building, Ryan Keith said they made a police report but no one came to investigate.

“Our cameras did not capture anything because of where it was located,” Keith said.

Tulsa Police Department’s Sgt. April Harding with the daytime impact unit that helps patrol downtown says that reporting the crime is the best thing a victim can do in a situation of vandalism.

“The best thing to do is report it because I think a lot of vandalism goes unreported, and they just pay somebody to clean it off their building,” Harding said. “If we don’t know that the crime is occurring, then we don’t know where to concentrate those efforts.”

Keith believes that to mitigate the issue, police need to increase patrol efforts around the downtown area of Tulsa. Harding said their team monitors the IDL with proactive and reactive policing, but preventing vandalism is hard when it’s so random.

“As far as proactively preventing it, it seems to be a spontaneous thing, a crime of opportunity where somebody has what they consider to be a canvas, and then they act upon whatever makes them commit an act of vandalism,” Harding said. 

3rd and Cheyenne Office Building

Bob Eggleston is the property manager of a 100,000 sq. ft.  office building on 3rd and Cheyenne. They’ve had to lock the door to their historic building due to vandalism and trespassing. Now they are losing tenants because the door must be unlocked for each visitor entering the space.

“If you have a business and you’re expecting visitors, it’s not really good at all,” Eggleston said. “If we leave the door open, which we have done, we’ve had people many times walk off the street, go into their office, steal laptops, iPhones, etc., and then hide in the building, and when it’s locked at night they sleep in the building so we physically have to lock the door during the day.”

Last year, Eggleston reported a broken office window to the police. After an investigation with video camera footage, a suspect was arrested. However, the result of the incident did not end in prosecution due to the costly legal process.

“We have identified them, and the police have arrested them and they were never prosecuted,” Eggleston said. “To go down the prosecution route- it’s a lot more cost-effective to just pay for the glass. Often we get windows broken in the building. The expense of trying to take someone to court over it is not worth it.”

Eggleston also believes that a more significant presence in police patrol would help mitigate the vandalism issue.

“I think that more police on the street, more follow-up would help,” Eggleston said. “I think the one good thing that’s happened is that there are so many people living downtown now, there are more people walking around at night. When I first moved to Tulsa it was a ghost town at night.”

Hampton Inn Downtown

Pete Patel owns the Hampton Inn located downtown right next to TEDC and has had issues with vandalism in the past, but he has helped mitigate the issue by hiring more staff to monitor their business at night.

Some of the challenges that our business, the Hampton Inn downtown, have faced with vandalism is graffiti on the side of the building, our planters have been constantly picked at, trash cans sometimes carried to the side,” Patel said. 

“Those are the major things that have happened recently, we have added extra staffing. Previous years we had guest vehicles broken into in the parking lot, but I would say in the last year that has been minimized because we’ve taken extra security steps.”

Other steps they have taken were adding extra lighting in the parking areas and hiring security staff to walk through the parking area at night.

“We’ve had discussions with the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, Tulsa Police Department, as well as staff from the Mayor’s office,” Patel said. 

“I think the biggest thing we need to address is more police patrol downtown, extra dedicated full-time staffing. That goes to resources. TPD has to have additional resources to be able to do that, and we’re in support of making sure whatever we need to do to get those additional resources from the city, we need to be able to make that happen.”

Vandalism costs everyone money, Patel says. Businesses and insurance companies

“We need help from public and private law enforcement and city officials have to all be committed to get rid of that,” Patel said. “We ask that they support us on this and make sure that we all work together, businesses and community to try to get rid of vandalism, especially downtown.”

About TEDC Creative Capital

TEDC Creative Capital (aka TEDC) is a community development financial institution (CDFI) providing progressive lending to promising start-ups and growing businesses. TEDC builds equitable economic prosperity by helping small companies operate more successfully, create jobs, and advance communities! Loans range from $500 to $10 million.

Visit or call 918-585-8332 for more information on loan and entrepreneurial education programs! If you’re not a business owner but want to explore ownership, please contact TEDC! If you know someone who may need TEDC assistance, please share this story!