Monday, August 8, 2011

Back to School Crime Prevention

The start of school within the next few weeks can be a busy time for students and parents. The excitement of a new school year can divert our attention from safeguarding our valuable possessions. Even though many schools in our area have Campus and School Resource Officers who try to reduce the occurrence of thefts, crime prevention is everyone’s responsibility. The National Crime Prevention Council indicates statistics show young people ages 12-17 are far more likely to be victims of property crimes than adults, with a large majority of these crimes occurring on school grounds.

School Resource Officers report that most thefts of cell phones, portable music players, digital cameras, cash, and popular athletic gear occur because students leave backpacks containing these items unattended. This is especially true during gym classes and lunch periods.

Leaving lockers unlocked to save valuable time between classes or to free up time for visiting with friends during passing creates a good opportunity for the disappearance of treasured electronics and clothing.

Security professionals and crime prevention officers urge students to practice the following suggestions to safeguard your possessions:

• Don’t bring valuables to school. Unless absolutely need during the school day, leave electronic items and large sums of cash at home.

• Don’t call undue attention to your belongings. Catchy ringtones on cell phones may be amusing but they also catch the attention of would-be thieves. Keep electronics secure or at least out of sight.

• Don’t leave valuables unattended and lock your locker at all times. If students drive to school, don’t leave items in plain sight within your car. If items must be left in your car, place them out of sight and locked in the trunk, prior to reaching your school or other destination.

• Report thefts to school officials and police. Keep a photo and description of your property that includes any identifying characteristics. Record model and serial numbers.

Avoid the inconvenience and cost of replacing personal items. Contact campus police officers or the Overland Park Police Department at 913/327-6945 for more crime prevention assistance.