How boarding schools and security agencies can secure students from kidnappers
The incidence of kidnapping students from boarding houses and school assembles is projected to rise in the near future, as the crime has proven to be very profitable for the criminals, with low risk of detection and punishment.
The school environment presents a tempting target for the bad guys, as schools have a large pool of vulnerable individuals in one place, poorly defended.
The bad guys know that parents will readily pay ransom out of love for their kids. So, seizing a school student represents money in the bank for the profit kidnapper.
It must be understood that kidnap is a business transaction, as far as the bad guys are concerned. The decision rule is usually what action could yield higher income for them.
So, school authorities and the government must combat kidnappers vigorously, so that they will choose other targets.
Every school should put a security programme in place whose goal is to deter, detect, delay or deny a kidnapper from victimising school students.
Schools should appoint experienced security consultants to design comprehensive and robust security programmes that will achieve the desired purpose.
This problem-solving initiative is knowledge-based and is usually tailor-made to the specific requirements and circumstances of the given school.
Security Awareness Programme
This is the most cost effective method of target-hardening a large population of school students.
It provides information about the risk of a being a kidnap victim, of the current methods used by kidnappers and ways to avoid them.
The value of the programme is to provide information about when an individual faces the threat of kidnap and gives a menu of actions on what should be done once the threat has been detected.
Most kidnap incidents can be avoided. Besides, if there is an incident of mass kidnap, students can collectively put up resistance.
If all students in a dormitory start screaming and shouting, “kidnapper, kidnapper, kidnapper,” the cacophony will be too much for the bad guys to ply their evil trade
Private Guard Service
High profile schools should appoint reputable and licensed private guard companies to protect their schools. The guards should protect the entrances, grounds, perimeter, etc.
The programme should be adequate, if proper manning level is maintained to ensure that kidnappers are deterred due to visible guard patrols.
Schools should get 24-hour armed Police protection. There must be deadly force capability on campus, such that the bad guys could be engaged in a firefight if a kidnap incident is attempted.
Kidnappers do not want to die; they prefer to stay alive to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth.
School compounds should receive panic alarm system that can be activated when the school is under attack.
Alarm devices, if properly designed and installed, could create adequate psychological deterrent to the seizure of school kids.
Alarm equipment is a cost efficient option in school security.
Doors And Locks Programme
The boarding houses should receive metal doors that are bullet resistive.
Dead bolts locks should be mounted on the doors to enable manual bolting.
The doors may also be fitted with electrified hardware that will enable central lockdown of the school from a control centre once there is an extant threat to the students.
School compounds should be well lit and generators should provide back-up power in the event of national grid outage.
Good security lighting is a major deterrent to criminal abductions on school compounds. If a kidnapper knows that he will be detected, then he/she might decide to choose another target of opportunity.
“Kidnap: Face-To-Face With Death”
That is the title of a book, which I authored in 2014 on how to combat kidnapping in the Nigerian society.
Important security tips on combating kidnap by individuals, organisations and government sub-divisions are contained in the book.
Reading the book, which is an invaluable guide to school authorities, school security officials and government officials in combating kidnap, has saved many lives.
School Security Legislation
The federal government should enact new legislation on school security to help protect our student population from the scourge of kidnap.
This law should include background vetting of school workers, minimum-security programmes in schools, reporting requirements for school security breaches, etc.
The purpose is to protect a very important segment of our society- students.
Relying on Beccarian principles of Certainty, Severity and Celerity of punishment, government should mete out extremely harsh punishment to kidnappers of students.
This will serve as deterrent. Criminals in Nigeria enjoy a lot of impunity.
However, if kidnappers of school students are detected and very severely punished, others will conclude that kidnapping school students is not in their best interest.
Government can help in the fight against kidnappers by using moral suasion. After all, adult kidnappers may also have kids.
It is possible to appeal to their conscience that an attack on students (by kidnapping them) is an attack against the future of the nation, and a nation without a future is dead.
Using local celebrities, such as Zebrudaya, to communicate the message will reach members of that criminal sub culture. Once the leaders of the kidnappers say, don’t kidnap students, then that may be it.
Students should be taught how to escape from danger in their dormitories (including kidnap).
They should be trained in bomb threat procedures, fire alarm procedures, civil disturbance procedures and kidnap resistive procedures.
Once people have practiced the skills, they become second nature in an actual emergency.
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