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Burglary Free: Strategies for the school

Here schools will find ideas to help them focus their community’s attention on preventing and reducing burglary. Schools will choose strategies that meet their needs, as well as the needs of their community.

School security

  • Adopt a zero-tolerance attitude to burglary and related crimes.
  • Model effective security for your parents and students.
  • Encourage students to name their property and keep it in safe places.
  • Encourage students to respect property belonging to other students.
  • Advise the community of guidelines for the safe use of the school grounds in out-of-school time.
  • Establish good relationships with neighbours who can report problems during out-of-school times.
  • Consider setting up parental patrols in the school grounds.
  • Set up a Neighbourhood Support Group around the school.


  • Write a policy or management statement about visitors to the school. We suggest:
    • requiring visitors to report to the office and sign the Visitor’s Book with their name, the date and time, their contact details and the reason for their visit.
    • giving visitors a visitor identification card
    • requiring visitors to sign out when leaving and return the visitor identification card.
  • Make children and parents aware of the policy.
  • Students should know that visitors wear a visitor identification card and should report to the office or a teacher f they see a no-staff adult without one.
  • Network with neighbouring schools to inform (by fax or phone) each other of suspicious people or activity in or near the school grounds.
  • Official visitors expected for the day should be listed in the staff room. Ensure staff are introduced to them.

School environment safety check

  • Have an emergency phone line in each classroom/syndicate.
  • Install sensor lighting.
  • Install burglar alarms, have security firm checks at night, and display security stickers.
  • Enlist the support of local Neighbourhood (or Junior/Kids) Support Groups.
  • Appoint a person to check that all doors and windows are closed each day.
  • Teachers working late should bring their cars as close as possible to the exit.
  • Doors should be locked when someone is in the school after hours.
  • Keep buildings clear of trees and shrubs.

Communicate with your school community

  • Invite local Police to write an article for the school newsletter or website to increase awareness of burglaries.
  • Regularly include burglary prevention tips. Choose ones that are suitable for your community. Some suggestions are provided in Strategies for the community.

Keeping school property safe

Complete the School Property Checklist (PDF, 19KB) to assess how safe your school property is.

Keep students occupied

Carry out a needs assessment of your students to find out which students:

  • go home to an empty house
  • have shown a tendency to take things or have been in trouble with Police.

This information would need to be kept strictly confidential.

All of these students are at risk. The school, with help from the community, can take measures to ensure that students are supervised/assisted until parents return home.

You may like to consider:

  • helping students find out about clubs or groups out of school hours
  • setting up an after-school library or care group (local church groups or community councils may help with staffing and funding)
  • setting up a homework club
  • working with local youth workers to set up holiday programmes
  • offering sports activities after school
  • having a range of activities available during lunch and break times.

The school would need to consider how students will get safely home after these activities.

Supporting victims of burglary

Burglary research identifies a phenomenon called ‘repeat victimisation’ in which the same person, place or property is subjected to a subsequent crime within a certain time period (for example, within the last 12 months). Studies have found that, once a house has been burgled, its chance of being burgled again is four times the rate of houses that have not been burgled previously. Over half of repeat burglaries occur within seven days of the earlier burglary.

The school has an opportunity to support children whose homes have been burgled. To assist this process, schools should consider how they could obtain information from parents about burglaries, and how they could provide support for children during school hours, if needed.

There are many reasons why people might not report burglaries to local Police. They might not have insurance, the value of stolen property might be small, and in some cases the ‘burglar’ might not have gained entry into the home. Schools should encourage their communities to report all crimes and suspicious behaviour, as this enables Police to establish patterns of burglary and other criminal activity within the community.

Schools could support victims of burglary by:

  • making them known to the school social worker (if your school does not have a social worker, consider appointing one)
  • ensuring the family is aware of Victim Support, which operates 24 hours a day and can be contacted through the police station
  • providing an older student or buddy to support the student at school
  • being aware that the student may be traumatised, and dealing with this sensitively
  • encouraging families to advise the school of any burglary attempts.

A student may disclose knowledge of a burglary while at school. This should be dealt with in line with school policy.