Break-ins at schools peak on holidays

Security at schools will be in the spotlight once schools close for the mid-year break.

During term breaks schools are plagued by burglaries and items such as stationery, textbooks and computers are stolen. This happens twice a year, during the June and December holidays.

As a result schooling is disrupted when the new term begins.

The Gauteng Education Department says it has deployed security officers at high risk areas, and urge schools to call gautengonline on 0860 428 8364 for advice.

In addition most schools have been assigned a police officer to interact with community policing forums. Police officers also brief SGBs on crime prevention.

The GDE said it was engaged in talks and campaigns with communities to make them embrace ownership of schools in their areas.

"There is a continuous effort to make the communities aware and take ownership of the schools," says GDE media officer Nanagolo Leopeng.

"School governing bodies have been playing a significant role in making sure that communities are mobilised to support the schools so that they become centres for community development.

"A good case study is Ebony Primary School in Ivory Park, next to Midrand, where the SGB has been at the forefront in the safe schools campaign.

"Due to parental involvement, it has not encountered any serious forms of burglaries although it has no security guards. Neighbours and parents have taken full ownership of the school and assist in every way possible."

More affluent schools are turning to technology for security for their schools and pupils, particularly the Internet Protocol video surveillance, to ensure the safety of pupils and staff.

"Video surveillance has gained appeal in schools because of its ability to deter unacceptable behaviour," says Roy Alves, the country manager of Axis Communications.