What is it about summer vacation that makes everyone nostalgic to be back at school?
Already this year, officers have apprehended 56 people at education facilities protected by Sonitrol Pacific. Of these, almost 60 percent were caught in acts of vandalism or trespassing.
Most acts of school vandalism are crimes of opportunity. Preventing these acts means easing or erasing these alluring opportunities. Here are a few tips to help your district reduce its risk for summer crime.
1. Ask your alarm company and fire monitoring company to complete a preventive maintenance inspection and confirm your systems are working properly. Have them repair any malfunctioning elements and change batteries, if applicable.
2. Illuminate school buildings and make suspicious activity more visible. Complete a sweep of all campus lighting. Replace burned out bulbs and install lighting in currently dark areas. Consider motion sensor lights to save electricity.
3. Add or increase nightly patrols of campus, especially during the summer months when the weather is warmer and the days longer. Always have a means of communication immediately available, preferably a cell phone or a walkie talkie. Report suspicious activity immediately.
4. Clarify after hours security policies- verify the people responsible for securing facilities during the holiday break understand and follow standard procedures.
6. Don’t allow landscaping to provide camouflage for vandals. Prune trees and shrubs, and cut back weeds and other vegetation around the campus to reduce fire risk and hiding places.
7. Ensure all sprinkler heads are protected from breakage to prevent flooding.
8. Secure bleachers. Make certain outdoor bleachers and athletic fields receive the same security attention as buildings.
9. Shut down the gas supply to science rooms when school is out of session.
10. Remove garbage cans when school is out of session. Garbage has been used as an ignition source for arson fires.
11. Check fences and gates for damage. Complete repairs promptly and keep gates locked.
12. Encourage school neighbors to keep an eye on activity at the school. Post signs where neighbors can see them. They may see something that can help catch a vandal.
13. Keep window coverings closed to hide room contents.
14. Store high value equipment (computers, TVs etc.) in secure rooms, preferably without windows.
15. If you have surveillance cameras, make sure they are working properly. Post signage around the perimeter of the school alerting would-be vandals to the security systems you have in place.
16. Act quickly to repair any damage from vandals immediately.
17. Reinforce consequences when vandals are apprehended. You want to have the reputation of holding vandals accountable.