An unusually large act of vandalism last school year cost the district $21,247.
The event took place late last March near the end of spring break, when several people broke into Promontory elementary and wreaked havoc across several rooms.
The vandals broke into both the main school building and two portables. Witnesses in the area reported hearing loud noises, including breaking glass, coming from the school.
The mess was discovered first thing on a Thursday morning, when spring break “campers” and teachers preparing for the return to class arrived on site. Most of the damage was to a kitchen area.
That costs of cleanup broke down to $4,866 in labour and $16,380 in materials. That large event aside, Promontory elementary only had a cost of $194 for vandalism last school year. That’s about a third of the district’s total costs of $58,489.
Sardis secondary had the second highest cost, at $5,440. Little Mountain elementary suffered $4,808 in damages, and Chilliwack secondary had $4,726.
The school district office and East Chilliwack elementary had zero damages, while Sardis elementary, Fraser Valley Distance Ed, and Vedder elementary each had about $64 in labour only.
There are three main types of vandalism reported each year by the Director of Facilities and Transportation, Al Van Tassel. There is non-entry vandalism, which includes graffiti, window breaks, and damage to playgrounds, security cameras, roof top HVAC equipment and fencing. There are break-ins that include damage to windows and doors, and there is vandalism that occurs during occupied hours. That generally includes damage to plumbing fixtures, hardware, electronics, cabinets, lockers and items like fire extinguishers.
Van Tassel noted they are using tracking software to help identify hot spots, so resources can be put to the best use when and where they are needed. Some of the upgrades include roll shutters for windows, mosquito sound devices and upgrading video monitor systems.
The school district has also received funding from Fraser Health to help with yard sweeps, to pick up dangerous debris left there by others, including drug needles. They are also working with CrimeStoppers, and the Stop Graffiti Campaign, as well as the City of Chilliwack Public Safety Advisory Committee.
Security services cost just under $160,000 in 2018, down slightly from the previous year.