Preventing theft in school environments 

As most educators are aware the more time you have spent in a school environment the more likely it is that you will have experienced an accident at the school, or you will someday. Of course the goal of any solid risk management and loss control plan is to minimize the risk of accidents, but it is prudent to have an accident response plan in place so that if an accident occurs there will be a planned response to minimize damages and provide adjusters with information necessary to handle resulting claims. 

While there may not be one solution for businesses to prevent theft from their facilities, there are some practical steps schools can take to reduce the risk of crime.  With schools using more laptops, personal computers, and iPads in the education process, they have also created a technology rich environment for thieves.  These small electronic items are easily sold for quick cash rewarding the criminal for their efforts.  Precious metals including copper from air conditioning units are also a common target of school burglars. 

In the past, schools were not an appealing target for burglars because there was a very limited amount of items worth taking.  The level of building security at many schools has not caught up with the value of items that need protection from criminals.  Reducing the risk of thefts in schools can be done relatively easily without incurring huge expenses.  The solutions come from following traditional crime prevention tips:

  • Keep technology out of sight.  Most criminals case their targets before they actually break in to a building.  If window blinds are down and technology is stored, a thief may leave looking for an easier target.
  • Secure technology as best as possible.  In technology labs and classrooms where technology is used heavily, the use of locking metal cages with shelves will serve to deter many criminals.  It is also best the cage is secured to the ground and not in view from windows and doors.  For even tighter security, install secondary deadbolt locks on rooms that have valuable technology items.  Interior rooms that cannot be seen from the outside, through doors and windows, work best.  In labs and classrooms where desktop computers are used, cable locks on technology can deter criminals.
  • Keep the building secure from the outside.  Installing motion detecting bright lights can help deter criminals from coming onto your campus after dark.  Alarm systems with audible alarms that contact a central alarm monitoring station also are proven to reduce burglaries against small businesses.  Camera systems that record and maintain building activities can also help prevent crime as well as to help catch criminals if a burglary does occur.  Improving locks on exterior doors and installing shatter proof glass on doors and windows within 40 inches of door handles are two more crime deterrents proven over time.   Also consider fences with locks around outside condenser units.

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.

For safety or risk management questions or suggestions, please contact Markel.

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