An Eye on the Campus

An Eye on the Campus

Campus challenges include monitoring multiple areas of concern

Every day, tens of millions of parents entrust schools with their children’s safety and every day, those parents worry if that trust is misplaced. In addition to the frequent headlines about school shootings, children deal with other pressing issues at school, whether it’s bullying, drugs or harassment.

Although many faculty and staff members do everything they can to address existing and potential concerns, one of the greatest challenges they face is the daunting task of monitoring multiple areas of a school at once.

That’s where video surveillance solutions come into play. Video cameras don’t just allow security teams to dramatically expand their view of the campus, they also increasingly offer sophisticated intelligent analytics that can alert security personnel to hidden issues.

Putting a comprehensive video surveillance solution in place makes the campus safer and does so in a budget-friendly way that allows schools to deploy their personnel more effectively. Here are a few ways security cameras can help.

Deterring and Addressing Intruders

The problem. Schools frequently deal with unauthorized visitors. Potential trespassers have a variety of motives, ranging from benign but inappropriate visits from family members and friends to dangerous intruders such as drug dealers, sexual predators, or even an unstable or abusive parent who is unauthorized to have contact with their child.

The solution. A full-scale surveillance solution eliminates any blind spots on the campus. It’s easy for an intruder to evade security staff in a large facility, especially when they’re busy dealing with other issues. On the other hand, it is extremely difficult for them to evade video surveillance. Rather than relying on multiple staff to patrol the campus, schools can have a relatively small team tasked with monitoring live video that corresponds with every part of the facility. Intelligent analytics don’t need to wait for the operator to notice the intruder in the video, but it can immediately alert the operator to behavior that warrants attention, such as a person entering an unauthorized space. Some solutions are even able to integrate facial recognition software that can identify people who are not permitted on school property.

React to Terrorism/ Shootings

The problem. There isn’t a parent, teacher or school administrator in the United States who isn’t keenly aware of the threat of violent incidents in schools. While the majority of schools may never endure the horrors that have dominated news headlines in recent years, the reality is that incidents like these can happen anywhere, so it is every school’s duty to be prepared. The issues that lead to attacks extend far beyond a school’s walls, but these tragedies are often made worse because schools struggle to pinpoint and predict the location of such threats. When attacks occur, police are often called to the scene with inadequate information about the exact location of the incident, making it much more difficult for them to neutralize the threat as quickly as possible.

The solution. A top-notch video surveillance solution is far more likely to immediately alert the security team to a problem, allowing them to alert students and staff so they can commence lockdown procedures and other emergency measures. This saves time, which ultimately saves lives.

Most importantly, identifying a threat quickly means that the police are contacted right away and can reach the scene of the event within minutes. Moreover, the surveillance team can follow the event as it is happening and keep the police updated on the attacker’s location and movements. With this constant stream of information, the police can address the threat with speed and confidence.

Ideally, police departments can integrate video data from their video surveillance systems with schools in their jurisdiction so that their surveillance teams can immediately access all relevant video in the event of a crime on school property.

Identify and Address Bullying

The problem. Bullying is a pervasive issue in most schools, and it can have serious and long-lasting consequences on students and faculty alike. However, monitoring bullying incidents can be difficult because they can happen anywhere, at any time. Desperate to put an end to bullying in schools, many school districts struggle to find a solution that can address this issue with immediacy.

The solution. Installing a video surveillance system allows school security to quickly identify and intervene in bullying incidents. It also provides a recordof evidence that school leaders can refer to when they receive complaints from students or parents. Video evidence helps administrators in stating their case for disciplinary measures in response to bullying. The presence of cameras throughout the campus can further serve as a visual deterrent for perpetrators.

Deterrent for Vandalism/Theft

The problem. Whether children are scrawling graffiti on lockers between classes or a high school senior living out their dream prank, vandalism is a major concern in most schools. Every broken window or stained wall can result in expensive repairs, and it can present an image of disorder and lawlessness that can fuel even more bad behavior among students.

The solution. By adding cameras inside and outside, schools can eliminate blind spots and capture evidence of vandalism. Certain cameras even offer protection from the elements and can work in high- or low-light situations, so security staff will always know the full story behind the damage they discover in the morning. Most importantly, these cameras can serve as a powerful deterrent for potential vandalizers.

Stay within Budget

The problem. Perhaps one of the most pressing concerns for schools is working with limited budgets. Staff who are tasked with allocating school funds struggle with ensuring that every department has adequate resources. Unfortunately, some budgets can be so limited that budgeting staff may be forced to curb spending for certain departments, including security. This can contribute to situations in which dangerous incidents begin to go unchecked, leading to further costs relating to property damage or lawsuits.

The solution. Video surveillance solutions don’t have to be an impossible dream. Budget-friendly systems can help keep students safer and prevent unnecessary expenses. While the upfront cost of a modern surveillance system can be significant, it is far less costly than replacing defaced property. Once there is a system in place, expanding it by adding more cameras or by integrating new capabilities can be easy and relatively inexpensive. The system can also adapt to the school’s shifting needs.

Rather than hiring a large team of security staff to patrol every hallway and corridor, schools can hire a small team of experts alongside an effective surveillance solution that will free up budgets so they can focus on what matters: providing a quality education.

Safer Schools, Stronger Communities

No security measures can completely safeguard students and staff, but school leaders can take advantage of innovative surveillance systems to reduce the frequency and impact of unsafe situations by reacting quickly and effectively to potential threats.

Surveillance solutions are a great way to ensure that communities can continue to look to schools as safe and enriching environments. When schools use effective methods for reducing violence, drugs, and other problems that can detract from the learning experience, they set students up for success long after graduation.

This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Security Today.


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