Security cameras will defeat vandalism

The initiative was born after five air-conditioners were stolen from the Galil school in south Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv's municipal security department has had enough of the vandalism and thefts at the city's schools and has launched a plan to install closed-circuit security cameras at every school, reports the Hebrew weekly Yediot Tel Aviv. The pilot program is expected to begin in south Tel Aviv and in Jaffa in the next few months, following an increase in thefts in those areas recently. According to the report, the initiative was born after five air-conditioners - four of them brand new - were stolen from the Galil school in the Hatikva neighborhood in south Tel Aviv several weeks ago. In the same week, metal air-conditioning parts were stolen from the Open Democratic school in Jaffa. The report said that while installing cameras in all the city's schools would cost tens of millions of shekels, they would save the public the cost of replacing stolen items and repairing damage to vandalized property, and would also enable any incidents of violence to be monitored. The plan calls for cameras to be placed at school entrances and in "sensitive" rooms at all schools, and for these to be monitored from a central control room at the municipality 24 hours a day. "The aim of the program is to save manpower," a municipal security official said. "Through the control room we will be able to follow any incidents at schools, and if we see an incident of vandalism, for example, we will be able to send forces to the area immediately." The city of Rehovot has reportedly also begun a similar program of placing cameras in its schools, with a spokesman there saying that each camera costs between NIS 50,000 to NIS 60,000 and that between two and 10 cameras were being installed at each school. The school camera program in Tel Aviv will join a city-wide plan to install hundreds of cameras in streets and at intersections in a program aimed at monitoring traffic flow and preventing crimes. The report said the city council will need to approve the school camera plan and allocate a budget for it before it can go ahead.