Sunday, February 1st, 2009 | Implementation Issues, security
During summer vacation periods in the Western Cape, schools are the target of criminals. This year many schools were vandalized once again. But only two out of a thousand Khanya computer facilites were broken into with a loss of only a few pieces of equipment.
This is good news amidst all the bad news we receive daily.
To what could this good fortune be attributed? Strict security measures undoubtedly play a major role. Windows, doors and ceilings are secured – yes, the ceiling is an easy way for thieves to enter the computer room. Alarm systems and the presence of security guards also act as deterrents.
The Khanya Story gives a glimpse into some of the efforts that go into securing the computer facilities in schools:
The safety bars must not be thin
They must be thick and strong
The burglars – may they never win –
Their tries must all go wrong
The stone guards on the outside wall
Firm be they and robust
No stone or rock may through them fall
They are an abs’lute must
A flimsy gate is not enough
To keep intruders out
One’s needed that is strong and tough
The thieving one to flout
Attempt to find a safety door
One made of heavy steel
Impossible through it to bore
No one the goods can steal
Fort Knox – a place that’s quite secure –
The lessons to be learned
Of entry points make doubly sure
Full safety will be earned
The same rule you can here apply
Pants with a belt you hold
To feel secure and keep them high
Are braces to you sold
A double safety door is not
An over kill at all
It will keep out the wicked lot
The thieves both great and small
So brace it up and bolt it down
Of thieves who’re bold beware
Protect the lab like a fine crown
Be brave and take good care
In addition to our own safety precautions, Khanya formed a partnership with ITCrimes – all components of each piece of computer equipment are recorded electronically and made available to the police force. In this way stolen equipment could be tracked with ease. I believe that this initiative plays a major role in making thieves think twice before they would target a computer room protected in this way.
If, in spite of all these precautions, criminals still get away with the loot, a good, paid up insurance policy will soften the blow. Schools are encouraged to keep their policies up to date to ensure that they are adequately covered.
In our experience, the most effective protection mechanism is the committed involvement of the community. When community members are actively involved in the process of creating a computer facility for the school right from the start, they are sure to assume a protective role. The low incidence of burglaries in computer rooms this year once again proves the wisdom of this approach.
We will continue to use belts, braces, buttons, bolts and whatever bulwarks can be built to bolster the security of precious technology facilities at schools.