According to the latest federal data on school crime and safety compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics, schools throughout the country have witnessed a rise in school shootings and student behavioral issues over the past 10 years.
During the 2019 to 2020 school year, the latest year on record, 77% of U.S. public schools reported one or more incidents of crime. A total of 93 school shootings took place in the 2019-2020 school year, the most since the 2000-2001 school year. A higher percentage of public schools also reported instances of student disciplinary problems and cyberbullying as opposed to the 2009-2010 school year.
That’s why schools across the country have begun implementing more robust preventive and response measures to promote discipline, order, and safety. Most notably, the use of security cameras rose from 61% to 91% between 2009-2010 and 2019-2020.
This stark increase reflects the effectiveness of video security as a campus safety tool. By implementing a comprehensive video security system, campus safety can be significantly enhanced via real-time monitoring, threat deterrence, heightened emergency response, and more.
Real-time video monitoring offers school security personnel and administrators a priceless tool: the ability to keep a watchful eye on various areas of the campus simultaneously.
By strategically placing cameras at critical locations such as entrances, hallways, parking lots, and common areas, any suspicious activities or potential threats can be identified promptly. These threats may range from bullying or vandalism to unauthorized entry, tampering, or weapon possession.
The ability to monitor in real-time ensures quick responses to incidents by security guards, which are critical when ensuring the safety of both students and staff members. When campus personnel are able to react proactively, dangerous situations can be prevented from escalating.
Simply having visible video security cameras present in both indoor and outdoor campus locations can deter criminal activity. Perpetrators are much less likely to engage in illegal behavior if they know they’re being both watched and recorded.
This discouraging effect can help mitigate crimes such as theft, vandalism, and underage drug or alcohol use. At the same time, the presence of a watchful eye contributes to fostering a sense of safety and trust within the school among students, parents, and staff members alike.
In the unfortunate event that a security breach or criminal incident does occur on campus, video footage becomes invaluable evidence for investigations.
Recorded footage from parking lots, entryways, hallways, and other critical areas can aid law enforcement officers as they work to reconstruct event timelines, identify perpetrators, and gather other vital information about the incident– for instance, using license plate recognition or facial recognition technology.
This data can significantly expedite the investigative process, increasing the likelihood of suspects being apprehended.
Emergency preparedness is crucial in schools, which is why most campuses already have lockdown procedures and other guidelines in place. However, during emergencies such as fires, natural disasters, or other acts of violence, video security systems can provide critical real-time insights that help emergency responders accurately and promptly assess the situation.
By accessing live camera feeds and recorded footage, responders can make informed decisions regarding how to handle the situation safely and effectively. This ultimately enhances emergency response coordination and ensures the well-being of students, staff members, and visitors during any time of crisis.
Traffic & Crowd Management
Large educational institutions– whether they be public schools in major metropolitan areas or college campuses– often experience heavy foot traffic. This is especially true during peak visiting hours and special events.
Video security systems equipped with intelligent analytics can help manage crowd flow and traffic patterns, preventing overcrowding and maintaining order during busy times. Additionally, behavioral analytics can identify any unusual or suspicious behavior, which can be hard for on-site security guards to detect when flooded with large crowds.
This double layer of protection during high-volume periods works to reduce the risk of accidents while improving overall security and campus safety.
Key Considerations For Implementing Video Security On Campus
While the benefits that video security offers are wide-ranging, successfully implementing a robust system requires careful planning and consideration of various factors.
Primarily, it is of utmost importance to preserve student and staff privacy. Video surveillance should comply with local, state, and federal laws regarding data collection and privacy. The presence of video cameras and the purposes of video monitoring should also be clearly communicated to all stakeholders.
When it comes to installation, it is crucial to ensure that cameras are strategically placed in areas with high foot traffic, vulnerable spots, and potential blind spots. Collaboration with security experts and on-site security teams to determine critical locations and hard-to-reach areas is key. By determining these focal points, a security system can provide maximum coverage without invading privacy.
Campuses are also constantly changing and evolving, so it is optimal to select a security system that is scalable and adaptable to different needs. Integration with other existing campus safety systems– such as alarm systems, access control, and emergency notifications– is also worth considering. A holistic and unified approach will heighten overall security management and response capabilities.
Finally, training should be provided to all security personnel, administrators, and other critical staffers. This ensures that, in the event of an emergency or an investigation, authorized users understand how to access and interpret video footage.
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