Patrols help to stop crime
Some schools can be busier during the holidays than during term time.
That is because a number of people take the opportunity to vandalise and destroy school property. With that in mind New Plymouth’s Senior Constable Graeme Jones has been working with his local Community Patrols and School Community Officers to prevent crime on school premises during the break.
‘‘Two years ago I utilised Intel to analyse offending within educational facilities during school holidays over the previous three years,’’ said Jones. ‘‘This revealed that crime tended to increase by up to 70% in educational facilities during school holidays, when no capable guardians were present.’’
The solution to the problem is the Community Patrols, which keep a close eye on school grounds during the holidays.
After being training on observation skills, initial action, health and safety awareness and radio protocols and use, the Community Patrols are able to carry out these tasks with minimal risk.
‘‘I monitor the patrol incident reports weekly to identify if any schools have insecure premises, and make sure they are contacted,’’ said Jones. Buildings can become insecure if contractors leave doors open or teachers forget to lock a door or leave a computer on after they have been working during the holidays.
New Plymouth School Community Officer Constable Tony Brownrigg said the exchange of information was a two-way process.
‘‘I give Graeme information about schools that are having issues with damage, disorder, drinking, broken glass, and so on,’’ Brownrigg said. ‘‘And he gives me information from the patrollers about security risks such as computer screens lighting up rooms, or insecure premises.’’
Brownrigg stresses to his schools that the Community Patrols are additional to any security patrols that the school currently has, and not a replacement.
‘‘Reported crime in schools during this year’s holidays is currently sitting between 0% and 2%,’’ said Jones. ‘‘Overall this initiative has seen a massive reduction in crime and repeat victimisation.’’
❚ Roly Hermans is the Coordinator Schools National Prevention Centre New Zealand Police.
Fitzroy School Principal John Mansfield with Community Patrollers Maggie Constance and Ray Cronin and School Community Officer Tony Brownrigg.