Graffiti at Chilliwack secondary school is a concern, and the facilities department works quickly to remove it. (Submitted photo)

Vandalism costs take away from classrooms, says Chilliwack school district

Facilities department beefing up security to keep costs down

Every dollar spent fixing a broken fixture at a school, is a dollar taken out of a classroom.

That’s the frustration the Chilliwack School District is dealing with in several school sites, with Chilliwack secondary school topping the list. Al Van Tassel, the director of facilities and transportation for the district, presented an annual review to the school board on Apr. 11, outlining security and vandalism costs, and highlighting measures being taken to reduce costs.

Over the calendar year of 2016, vandalism repair cost the district $35,779. It breaks down to $23,395 in labour and $12,384 in materials. Chilliwack secondary cost the most, at $5,535, followed by Little Mountain elementary, at $3,210 and Vedder middle at $2,905.

While graffiti is a problem at many locations — presumably from non-students — vandalism doesn’t always take place outside the school.

“Bathrooms are hit hard,” he noted, most likely because of the privacy in those rooms.

Some of the schools with the lowest vandalism repair costs in 2016 were Fraser Valley Distance Ed, Yarrow, Cultus Lake, Robertson, Unsworth, and FG Leary elementary schools, and the Ed Centre, each costing less than $250 for the year.

The data was broken down by Van Tassel to list off three different types of vandalism. There’s non-entry vandalism, such as graffiti, window breakage, damage of playgrounds and other outdoor facilities, stairs, HVAC equipment and cameras, and chain link fence repair.

Then there are also break-ins, and finally vandalism inside during school hours, such as the bathrooms. That includes damage to plumbing equipment, electrical components, cabinets, door hardware, lockers, and even safety equipment like fire extinguishers.

The other necessary cost is for security, and this last year the school district enlisted the help of Griffin Security. In 2016, the district paid Integra Security $55,120 for security runner services, Paladin Security $9,322 for alarm monitoring, and Griffin Security $19,316 for security services.

By and large, security alarms are set off by staff in the building after hours, Van Tassel said.

There are numerous methods the district has tried in order to combat vandals, and lower false alarms. They are working closely with Crime Stoppers, the City of Chilliwack and Griffin. They’ve started adopting “dark campuses” at night, as well.

“It’s not as fun to paint (a building) in the dark,” Van Tassel said, and when they try to use a flashlight they’re more easily caught on the security cameras.

They’ve improved visibility and lines of sight for their cameras and upgraded the equipment, installed even more roll shutters and security screens in high risk areas like Cheam and Leary.

They’ve also “hardened targets” like bike racks by installing bike storage and fencing.

Finally, they’re tracking vandalism costs closely, to continue highlighting the ongoing concern.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Al Van Tassel, director of facilities and transportation, explains some of the ways his department is working to combat vandalism at Chilliwack school sites. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Chilliwack woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

Some Chilliwack residents dealing with water on land and underground

City reminds homeowners to be ready for basement floods as Fraser River and water table rises

New hybrid learning model open to Chilliwack students

Two days in a classroom and three days at home could be ‘right fit’ for many students, says district

Rescuers come up empty after scouring Coquihalla River for 50-year-old man

Police, search teams, drones and helicopters were involved in the two-day search

Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser

Limited recreational openings for chinook on the Chehalis and Chilliwack rivers being questioned

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Abbotsford school vice-principal accused of getting Instagram ‘confessions’ page shut down

@A.S.S.S.Confessions page claims school officials contacted families to find out person behind page

Budget officer pegs cost of basic income as calls for it grow due to COVID-19

Planned federal spending to date on pandemic-related aid now tops about $174 billion

Most Read