School vandalism down in Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows

Vandalism numbers in School District No. 42 are continuing to drop this school year.

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district has had 455 reported incidents of vandalism since July, compared to 677 over the same span during the 2009/10 school year. In 2007/08 and 2008/09, more than 730 incidents were reported from July to February both years.

Among the most significant decreases have been in break-and-enters, with only 13 being reported this school year to date, compared with 56 over the same span last year.

There are also fewer reported incidents of windows being broken, falling from 123 at this point last school year, to just 71 this year.

The district’s latest monthly statistics, released Wednesday, show a steady decline from the 2007/08 school year when vandalism peaked with 1,248 incidents reported.

Previous estimates put the cost of school vandalism in the district at more than $500,000 annually.

The district has installed metal rolling shutters to protect windows on many schools to help combat vandalism in recent years. Schools have also employed video surveillance, motion detectors, automated sprinkler systems, and the Mosquito teen deterrent – a device that emits an obnoxious high-pitched noise audible only to young people. The district also operates a 24-hour vandalism hotline and forwards reports of vandalism to the district’s security firm or the RCMP so they can respond.

• Anti-vandalism hotline: 604-466-4357.