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School safety

School Security and School Safety

With Spring Break fast approaching, schools should be focusing on plans to protect their vacant campuses during the extended break. Every year, schools become targets for vandalism, trespassing, graffiti and theft, leaving behind extensive and EXPENSIVE damages for the district.

As we focus on “school security” and “school safety,” these two terms seem interchangeable, but there is difference between the two. Dan Flynn, author of the article “The ABCs of School Security” featured in Police Chief Magazine differentiates between the two.

School safety relies on the condition of the school, where school security relies on the means and products in which to deliver the safe environment. School safety is an “ideal” state of being  free of any hazards or danger. Building codes, preventative maintenance efforts, good community, and well trained staff are all examples of what can create a safer school environment.  School security is the condition of being protected or prevented from danger. Security cameras, campus police and school resource officers, and CPTED are examples of school security. When schools improve on their security efforts, they tend to improve their overall safety of the school.

Police Chief Magazine also suggests collaborating between law enforcement experts and the private security industry experts to develop school security programs. By training the teachers and providing the latest technology and security systems in schools will also provide a safer environment for the students and faculty.

Reporting

Graffiti Reporting Helps Graffiti Prevention Efforts

Reporting graffiti sites is an effective way a community can work together to help with graffiti prevention efforts. The Brooklyn Daily states that reports of graffiti have skyrocketed to 166 percent—from 91 in 2014 to 242 in 2015 – in the 61st Precinct in Brooklyn New York.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) says the increase in reports are due to the newly instituted proactive graffiti prevention program that encourages graffiti reporting. The district sends “cops to find graffiti and then a report is generated to get it removed.” Reports are required to have the graffiti removed or it will go unnoticed.

This new graffiti prevention program has increased the amount of public awareness of graffiti incidents within the community. With a dedicated resource in place for these efforts, the residents themselves can contact and report a graffiti site and have an officer generate an official report for removal to take place. Prior to this program, many cases may not have been addressed by the city even if someone had reported it to the police. With the community actively participating in the police department’s overall graffiti prevention efforts, the program is further strengthened which results in a more effective and successful program, which in the end will help address the graffiti issue within the community all together.

Sirens

How to Prevent Crime in Your Community

Because government and local law enforcement are responsible for addressing issues of crime in a community, it is easy for citizens to not be involved in crime prevention efforts. A question may be asked, How do I help prevent crime in my local community?” Here are three quick tips on how residents can be involved in preventing crime – Participate, Promote and Protect:

Participate:  This is probably the biggest factor. By having residents actively involved in community crime prevention efforts, they become a “force multiplier” for local law enforcement, giving them more eyes on the street.  Part of participating in preventing crime is democracy in action. The outcome that results from your participation in the local government not only helps impact the community, it ultimately also impacts you the resident.

A key to being involved with the community means to be educated. Follow the news and current events to understand what is going on in the government and your local community. Learn the laws and follow them. Have knowledge of local events and establish relationships with your neighbors and local businesses. Build a partnership with your city officials and law enforcement, and voice your concerns. Learn problem solving skills and proactive ways on how to prevent crime, and share them with others. Ask questions, seek help, and develop answers. Notify the police when you see suspicious activity in your neighborhood.

Promote:  Promote your local government and law enforcement. Promote their organizations and their events to help create awareness so others in your community can also be educated. Look for community improvement initiatives and efforts led by your local government and promote their values. Promote good family values, because morals start there. Promote your laws and set an example so others can follow them as well.

Protect:  Don’t just follow your local laws, but defend them. You can help prevent crime through community policing. Although sometimes misperceived, “community policing” simply means actively helping to prevent crimes by following the law and not interfering with the local government. Help prevent crime such as violence, vandalism and other nuisance crimes before it happens, in a way that promotes your local laws and government.

Swings

Buffalo, NY: Creating a haven of beauty and functionality prevents nuisance crimes

Mayor Byron Brown and his Parks and Recreation team have invested substantially in the city’s renowned park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in Buffalo, New York.

Through Brown’s comprehensive parks capital improvement plan, the mayor demonstrated commitment to safety, lower costs, healthy lifestyles and the attraction of new residents.

His plan included upgrades and improvements to existing structures like the playground, pool, park shelter, and the installation of a skate plaza, a new rain garden, and recreational walk way among other things.

“I’m proud of the results….City residents have since experienced increased service and a quicker response to neighborhood parks issues. We also lowered maintenance costs and improved facilities at parks by forging new and creative partnerships with not-for-profit organizations,” Brown said.

These kinds of improvements bring people together and provide healthy ways for youth to engage in activities and sports. Healthy community involvement keeps them away from issues contributing to park vandalism, graffiti, theft, burglary, property crimes, remedial programs or incarceration. Strategically revitalizing parks throughout the city unifies the community, saves money, and makes it safer for everyone.