Security at schools is putting kids at risk: team

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Security at schools is putting kids at risk: team

On June 7, an 8-year-old girl was kidnapped from an elementary school in Yeongdeungpo-gu and raped. The rapist, 45-year-old Kim Su-cheol, entered the school without being questioned by anyone and took the girl without resistance.

Schools are not the safest places for children anymore.

According to the Korean Institute of Criminology, most schools are vulnerable to such tragedies. Four out of five schools do not have security, and half of the schools researched did not have closed-circuit television systems.

The institute investigated 30 elementary, middle, and high schools in the Seoul metropolitan area that have high criminal rates. The investigation included experts from criminology (Park Mi-rang of the Korean Institute of Criminology), police science (Park Hyeon-ho of Yongin University), and architecture (Kang Seok-jin of Korea University).

According to their analysis, most schools do nothing to prevent crimes against children. Many public schools open their schoolyards to anyone. Dr. Park Mi-rang said “the range of people visiting the schools was too varied,” and said “if there are frequent visits from strangers, the students and teachers will be less intimidated by them.”

High schools that have nighttime free study periods did not turn on exterior lights. Many schools have lights installed in schoolyards and on road-sides, but only a few of them actually use them, and some of the lights were broken. “There are so many hiding places for a criminal, such as behind trees and near school buildings,” Dr. Park said.

Of the thirty schools examined, 16 did not have security cameras installed at their front entrances. Even schools with CCTV coverage usually had two or three cameras at most. Dr. Kang said: “There are many blind spots because there are not many cameras, and they are not even monitored real time.”

There are no security office for visitors in elementary and middle schools, so no one regulates who comes in and out. In addition, 23 out of 30 high schools lacked security offices. Some private high schools do have them, but they normally don’t check visitors.

The team suggested schools reduce the number of entrances, expand security on campuses, and remove curtains curtains from classrooms and staff rooms so potential criminals will have the feeling they can be monitored as soon as they step foot on a campus.


By Hong Hye-jin [enational@joongang.co.kr]

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