The summer holidays are an opportune time for thieves to target empty school buildings. As the leading trade association for the locksmithing industry, the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) would advise all educational facilities to be prepared and vigilant to ensure their premises are protected over the upcoming summer break.
The way in which schools are often left empty for extended periods over the holidays makes them unfortunately subject to theft, vandalism and arson attacks. The best way of minimising such risks and attacks is to have appropriate planning and security measures in place well before the end of the summer term.
Following these simple steps will help to ensure your empty buildings are kept safe and secure:
All windows should be double-glazed, with security film applied where necessary, and fitted with appropriate locks that are in good working condition and meet your insurance requirements.
All external doors should be fitted with independently tested and approved high security locks. Where applicable, all internal doors should be kept locked, with their access control systems active. This, in combination with ensuring that the gates onto the premises are also securely locked, will help prevent burglaries and provide additional peace of mind.
A local MLA-approved security expert will be able to specify the right solutions for keeping your site secure when not in use, and can advise on the best approach to ensuring ease of egress for escape routes when the building is in use. Entrapment areas – when spaces are fitted with the wrong type of security solutions – can have devastating effects. The site’s safety levels should always be paramount.
Sound the alarm
As well as immediately alerting police to any issues in progress, alarms and security systems can also act as great visual deterrents. Ensure that your alarm is kept regularly maintained, and that the code is changed at least every six months.
High value items such as IT equipment and musical instruments shouldn’t be visible from the outside, and empty packaging must be discretely disposed so that it doesn’t entice opportunist criminals. Expensive items can be safely stored in a room with enhanced security features, or in specific secure storage well away from any prying eyes.
Secure the grounds
Any fencing around the school site should be inspected to ensure that it’s fully intact with no damaged bolts, hinges or handles, and with no potential access points that could work as a foothold for easy access to thieves.
Tend to the trees
Large or overgrown trees and shrubbery can provide unnecessary cover for intruders. This aspect of security is often overlooked but can lead to blind spots on your CCTV coverage, leaving you susceptible to burglary.
For further advice on bespoke security solutions, contact your local MLA-approved provider; details can be found via the MLA website.