Good Hope Seminary Junior Primary School in Vredehoek was among the city schools which were burgled during the festive season.
Now principal Adrienne Millner is calling on the surrounding community to keep their eyes and ears peeled to prevent the school from being broken into again. She had to field calls on Christmas Eve (December 24), the Day of Reconciliation (December 16) and on Monday December 26 from City Bowl Armed Response and Alcatraz Security about break-ins at the school.
Ms Millner, who has been the principal at the school for the past five years, said the burglars targeted the teacher’s staff room where they made off with a microwave but failed to remove the fridge; the children’s computer room where they stole three computers, two printers and a scanner; as well as the caretaker’s room where they got away with tools.
“One of the City Bowl Armed Response officers intercepted a burglar but he got away. The officer also found computer equipment that had been stashed in wooden crates on the sports field,” she said.
Ms Millner described these incidents as “upsetting and disconcerting” and said the last time an incident of this nature occurred at the school was in 2014.
When teachers started this school year on Monday January 9, they were met with a trashed computer lab.
“This time around we think the thieves gained entry into the school grounds by bending the burglar bars and breaking the shelter locks. I have reported it to Safe Schools as well as the police and an officer from Safe Schools has promised to visit the school.
“They ripped the wires out the walls and damaged sockets and totally trashed the room. We also had to replace the alarm system as the burglars ripped out the sensors. We had CCTV cameras at the school but since the incident in 2014 we have not replaced them,” she said.
She urged Safe Schools to identify “hot spots” at the schools and provide the school with additional resources to counter vandalism and burglaries.
Last week Education MEC Debbie Schafer said she was pleased that incidents of burglary and vandalism continued to reduce year on year.
“During the December 2016/ January 2017 school holiday period, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) deployed additional security to schools that were identified as high risk.
“We are therefore pleased to see that the number of incidents has dropped once again, this time to 17. The figures suggest that extra security and vigilant communities are helping to reduce the incidents of vandalism at our schools.”
She said of the 17 incidents reported, the Cape Winelands Education District had reported the highest number of incidents in the province, with six incidents of burglary and vandalism. “I am also pleased that of the 17 incidents reported, all except one were ‘minor’ incidents. An incident is classified as minor if the estimated cost of repairs is below R100 000 and the schools’ ability to function is not impacted in any way,” she said.