Vandals hit Maple Ridge schools over spring break

Seven broken windows, eight instances of graffiti, as well as seven other acts of vandalism.

Local schools were once again under attack from vandals over spring break. However, the local school district appears to be winning the war to stop the needless destruction of school property.

According to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District’s vandalism reports, local schools sustained seven broken windows, eight instances of graffiti, as well as seven other acts of vandalism over the spring break.

While school vandalism regularly costs School District No. 42 close to $500,000 annually, those numbers have been falling in recent years.

Secretary treasurer Wayne Jefferson said the district has installed roller shutters on windows, increased lighting, and fenced off undercover areas, and that has proven effective.

“We’ve had to harden our schools, but it appears to be working,” he said.

Last year, vandalism was at an all-time low, since detailed records began being reported in 2004, with 720 total incidents, and vandalism rates appear to be holding steady this year.

With four months to go until the end of the annual reporting period, vandalism numbers in School District No. 42 stand at 474 incidents from July to February, compared to 455 over the same span last year.

In 2007/08, there were 730 incidents reported from July to February, with 1,248 incidents of vandalism reported at local schools all school year.

Since 2007/08, the number of broken windows has fallen from 276 to 93, last year. So far this year, there have been 70 reported broken windows, resulting in glazing costs of close to $5,500.

• To report an act of vandalism or suspicious activity at a public school in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, call 604-466-HELP (4357). The hotline is open 24 hours.

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