Four arrested over school break and enter
At Our Lady Help of Christians School in South Lismore about 3am yesterday four people were charged with break, enter and steal after they stole food and drink from the school’s canteen.
A nearby resident who heard the break-in called police. The tip-off led to the arrest of an 18-year-old man, a 16-year-old boy, and two girls aged 15 and 16.
In separate incidents in the same 24-hour period, malicious damage was also done to a sign ripped off a wall at a school in Kyogle; a DVD player and data projector were stolen from a school in Lismore; and a window was broken at another Lismore school.
Brick, concrete and fibro walls were smashed at another Lismore school, and the canteen at an Alstonville school was broken into.
Crime prevention officer Snr Const Michael Hogan said with 121 schools in the Richmond Local Area Command, police needed the public to be the ‘guardians of the schools, the eyes and ears for the community’.
“We want the public to take ownership of the schools they live near, even if they don’t have children themselves,” he said.
“We can’t be everywhere at once, so we depend on the public to report anything suspicious. The damage done to schools has to be paid for by somebody, so it impacts the whole community.”
Snr Const Hogan also encouraged schools to check security was up to scratch, and said they could apply for security fencing through the NSW Police Force and Department of Education’s school security unit.
He said schools including Ballina High and Kadina High had security fences installed through the program, and a number of other North Coast schools were on the list to get fencing next year.
“The unit looks at incidents at schools and rolls out fences according to need,” Snor Const Hogan said.
Police school liaison officers like Constable John Croger also visit schools in a bid to minimise criminal activity.
Constable Croger runs crime prevention workshops and identifies students at risk in an attempt to steer them away from committing crimes.
“It is a real issue with a lot of schools being targeted,” he said. “It’s important to report anything out of the ordinary to help minimise the impact of crime at our schols.”