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Chilliwack school district ramps up security to combat vandalism

Following a rash of break-ins last year, the school district has implemented security measures that have cut the rate of theft and vandalism.

In the first five weeks of 2013, the school district had 20 break-ins occur, all aimed at theft of technology, as was noted in a report presented to the Chilliwack board of education last week.

Those robberies, said the district’s secretary treasurer Gerry Slykhuis, were done by the same group of thieves, who were later arrested.

Still, it was the motivation needed to

implement new security measures.

Now, all schools and portables are equipped with intruder alarms, security systems were upgraded at 23 sites, 117 cameras were installed in 18 sites, and a new security company was hired for nightly patrols.

As well, doors and door hardware was upgraded, roll shutters and security screens were installed in “high risk” areas, and new technology equipment has been marked for identification.

From March to December of last year, the district suffered another nine break-ins. It also dealt with vandalism, including graffiti, broken windows, damage to playground equipment, benches, garbage cans, portable stairs, H-Vac equipment on roof tops, and security cameras.

Despite that early surge last year, overall, Chilliwack was down in thefts and vandalism from previous years. And so far this year, there have been no incidences of break-ins.

According to Dale Churchill, operations manager, Chilliwack’s struggles with theft and vandalism is

substantially less than that of Surrey’s where he was previously employed.

In total, the school district spent $53,990 last year on theft and repairs not covered by insurance.

Over the last four years, it has invested over $286,000 on loss-prevention projects.

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