An Eye on the Campus
Campus challenges include monitoring multiple areas of concern
- By Jeanie James
- Oct 01, 2018
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
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.
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
React to Terrorism/
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.
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
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
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.