Why Are Schools Such Attractive Targets for Burglars?

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The way children are taught in schools has changed a lot in the past 10 to 20 years.

Building design and facilities have become more modernised but most importantly the integration of technology with education has become as prominent as ever.

It is a rare occurrence for schools to not be filled with top of the range computers such as Apple Macs and Chromebooks as well as tablets such as iPads and Samsung Galaxy’s – all which aid children’s education in 2019.

Most classrooms will now have at least one computer used by the teacher and then there’s the addition of ICT rooms and libraries, which on their own will contain dozens of expensive electronics.

It all adds up to making schools a very attractive target for thieves – aided by periods of time when schools are closed and essentially abandoned over the weekend or during the school holidays. In fact, schools are closed for at least 13 weeks of the year which doesn’t include weekends.

On April 1st 2019, Ashmead Primary School in St Johns was forced to close for the day following a burglary.

During the burglary, all classrooms apart from two were broken into as well as the office and locked cabinets containing iPads and Chromebooks. Windows were crowbarred open and a number of doors were smashed open and damaged beyond repair. In addition, five iMac computers (which power the classroom’s interactive whiteboards) and iPods and laptops were also taken.

The cost of the damage is not known at this time.

Ashmead Primary isn’t the only school to be targeted by burglars for their high-value equipment.

In October 2018, Abbey Primary in Northampton was left struggling to teach certain subjects after burglars stole £35,000 worth of new electronics. During the break-in, new iPads, laptops and tablets were also stolen.

Pupils at the school had only been using the new equipment for two days before it was all taken. The perpetrators gained access to the school by smashing their way through a side door.

It is no secret that in most break-in scenarios, access to the building is gained by either smashing windows or smashing through doors – which is why it is important to increase the level of security at these points to prevent forced entry.

A common misconception when it comes to improving the security of a building – especially in schools – is that it will make the building look less appealing and more ‘prison-like’ – but there are in fact many different types of security available which will protect your building from break-ins and vandalism without taking away from its design.

In 2015, we worked with Briscoe Lane Academy in Newton Heath. For 12 years, they had suffered persistent vandalism and staff would often come into work to find smashed windows and broken glass in their classrooms. Despite quick fix attempts at security such as plastic covers and barbed wire, the school was still targeted.

After consultations with Window Security Solutions, Crimeshield was agreed as the right solution for the school.

Crimeshield is an attractive but secure perforated mesh screen which is fitted over existing windows. The grilles offer a ‘tinted window’ effect from afar and still allows 60% of light to enter classrooms as well as allowing windows to be open for ventilation.

We installed 162 Crimeshield grilles onto Briscoe Lane’s windows during the summer holidays with the project completed within 4 weeks.

The results speak for itself. Debbie Ollerenshaw, Briscoe Lane Academy Business Manager said:

“Our academy is in an area of high deprivation and has suffered from extensive vandalism in the past. We wanted a product that was as aesthetically pleasing as possible within budgetary constraints. We are very impressed with the end result – it is very subtle. Crimeshield offers the protection you need without looking obtrusive. The level of service we received from Window Security Solutions was excellent. They are a great company to work with and we would definitely consider them for any other suitable projects in the future.”

Whether it’s Crimeshield, Roller Shutters, Retractable Grilles, Steel Doors or Bar Gates – we offer a wide range of solutions for any security need.

If your school has a problem with vandalism or break-ins – or if you are just looking to improve the security of your building, please get in touch. Our team of specialists is on hand on 0161 4130766, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday to offer expert security advice.

Sources: EveningStandard, ITV.


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