What’s Happened to Make Them Major Targets?
These days colleges are usually very large establishments offering a vast range of courses, both during the day and in the evening, with people coming and going at all times. In a world that’s technology driven colleges are no different and to deliver the curriculum and facilitate effective learning they have over the last 10 years put huge investment into ICT facilities, which are a prime target for thieves.
The open plan design of many colleges and often easy access, make it easier for them to move around and seek out expensive items, which are usually in large amounts, that they can steal and hide such as laptop, notebook or tablet Encryption doesn’t seem to make any difference.
Why Is This So?
At the entrance of colleges there are reception areas which require visitors to sign in but in busy colleges there may be hundreds of students arriving and leaving and a person who’s not connected to the college can easily enter the building unnoticed, appearing to be just another student. Reception staff can’t possibly keep tabs on who comes and goes.
Not all establishments have a swipe system, which can help. Colleges have CCTV but this may only be at the entrance of specific building within the campus and it’s likely that in a planned theft the perpetrator will know this. Although all colleges have security procedures in place they may not always be enough and if incidents of theft occur often professional surveillance procedures are the only answer.
Shouldn’t Staff And Students Be More Careful?
Staffs in colleges are always told to be vigilant by looking out for suspicious behaviour and ensuring classroom and offices are locked but it’s difficult to cover every angle around the clock when teaching is their priority. There will also always be opportunistic theft and students are usually urged to keep an eye out for strangers in their teaching area and to look after their belongings. However, additional security measures would help their cause.
What Can Be Done?
The most effective way to try to reduce theft is to increase the number of CCTV cameras and ensure that all entrances are covered which is usually a form of deterrent but if a theft occurs the perpetrator can be identified. Equipment such as this can be installed by a professional private investigator who with the appropriate skills and experience can also advise on ways to combat this sort of crime. In cases where there is more persistent pilfering it’s feasible to increase the level of surveillance by setting up further covert cameras inside the college buildings or have tracking devices installed in the ICT equipment, which again can be put in place by a private investigator.
Does This Work?
There were a series of thefts at a college in the south east which baffled staff in charge of security. After analysing the information on when these occurred it became apparent that when there had been open evenings or consultation evenings ICT equipment had gone missing and when CCTV footage was examined it only showed movement through the main entrance and it as deduced that the perpetrators used alternative exits.
On such busy occasions for colleges it’s impossible to monitor who is coming and going and the majority of the visitors aren’t know to the staff so it’s easy for potential thieves to blend in. As a result the college installed further CCTV cameras at all entrances and alternative security locking systems, with staff and students being informed of their presence, and although on one further open night there was another incident the culprits were identified and the police subsequently involved. Overall though, theft is now minimal at the college.
With the huge rise in the use of information technology over the last 10 years in colleges there has been an enormous growth in theft of easy to carry away laptops, notebooks and tablets. The increased installation of CCTV cameras and other security measures has significantly reduced the opportunities for thieves.