Tuesday, September 1, 2009


The theft of information and communications technology (ICT) equipment from schools is widespread and costly. Projectors are especially prone to theft, with one local authority estimating that the cost of replacing projector equipment ran to £200,000 in a single year. And the expense is not just restricted to buying new equipment - it also has to cover damage to school property resulting from the theft, associated insurance claims and the disruption to lesson schedules in the school itself.

After a wave of thefts during which 195 projectors were stolen from London schools in the first three months of 2005, many sold to pubs and clubs to show football matches and films, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) proposed a simple and low-cost design solution. It suggested that all educational equipment could be produced in a bright and distinctive orange colour so that any equipment stolen from schools would be easily identifiable and more difficult for criminals to sell on. Potential customers are likely to find the gaudy orange units less desirable to use in a domestic environment and they might know that the orange colour means it’s school property and has therefore been stolen.

According to Becta, the orange initiative had an immediate and beneficial impact. In the London Borough of Havering annual ICT thefts from schools had exceeded £150,000 in one year. But when the borough introduced orange projectors and linked them with other security measures, such as etched and forensic marking on the equipment, burglary rates fell substantially. Potential thieves were put off by the colour because they knew they’d find it more difficult to sell the products on.

I think its amazing that they have come up with an idea so simple as changing a colour and has ended up so effective. I would’ve thought having a bright colour would make people want it more considering a lot kids like bright colours.


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