SROs, counselor devise program to deter school thefts
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Personal electronic devices are extremely popular these days and are a large part of pop culture in Glenwood Springs schools.
These valuable items have also become a common target for thieves in local schools.
The Glenwood Springs Police Department has created a crime prevention program to protect students from losing iPods, iPads and laptop computers.
These items are often taken from unlocked lockers or vehicles, unattended backpacks or purses, or are simply swiped when they’re left behind on a desk.
Frustrated by so many easily preventable thefts, Glenwood Springs High School counselor Scott Loeffler and School Resource Officer (SRO) Guy Ryan and Glenwood Middle School SRO Brian Larison took action.
They devised a plan to encourage more students to get personal electronic devices engraved with their names.
The process can be costly, so the SROs teamed up with Micro Plastics in Glenwood Springs to pare down the cost of the process and to deter thieves from taking students’ devices.
“Kids are wired these days,” said Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson. “And those schools are a happy hunting ground.”
The joint venture between Glenwood Springs Police and Micro Plastics offers students a chance to have their items engraved at the reduced cost of $10, using a coupon issued through the program, rather than the going rate of $25.
Glenwood Springs middle and high school students can get a coupon from their school’s SRO. Coupons have also been mailed out to students.
On Wednesdays, students can bring their electronic devices to school, along with the $10 fee and the coupon. The SRO will collect the devices, take them to Micro Plastics for engraving, and return them to students before the end of school that same day.
“We are extremely proud of the SROs for coming up with this program,” Wilson said. “We believe the program will take off once the new school year arrives and the coupons are offered as part of registration.”
Working with Micro Plastics also saved the police department a heap of money. Officers looked into purchasing an engraving machine, but the price was very high.
“We are thrilled by the support of local business, and we’re really thrilled that we didn’t have to spend $11,000 on an engraving machine,” Wilson said.
The program is already gaining interest among students. In its third week, the program is averaging 8 to 10 items engraved per week.
“We think the schools are doing a marvelous job getting the program out,” Wilson said.
Having a name engraved on an item will deter many thieves from lifting it, but Wilson said two other measures are important as well.
“We encourage everyone to write down the serial number from each electronic device they own,” Wilson said. “If the item is taken, we can load the number into our crime database and locate it if it’s recovered.”
Keeping electronic devices secured remains the top priority.
“We encourage everyone to take personal responsibility for their items,” Wilson said.
Although Glenwood Springs isn’t a crime-riddled area, things left unattended will often end up missing. Thefts can occur when items are left in front yards, grocery carts or unlocked vehicles.
“Recently we had a 12-year-old girl, God bless her, who left a heavy volleyball bag in a stairwell near the mall,” Wilson said. “She was in town for a tournament and wanted to go to Dairy Queen, but didn’t want to lug the bag with her.
“She returned and it was gone. Who knows why someone would want to steal that little girl’s volleyball pads?” Wilson asked.
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