It’s an ongoing mission for schools to improve safety and security.
Video surveillance equipment in keys areas in and around schools, in addition to access control, fire monitoring and mass communication systems, make a big difference in helping to prevent violence in schools across the country.
The right security equipment paired with emergency preparedness training for everyone at the school, from students to teachers, as well as clear strategies and processes, are important components in creating safer schools.
Importance of School Surveillance and Security
The following is a look at the importance of surveillance cameras in schools and the best ways to leverage video surveillance equipment to provide a safer and more secure environment.
The rise in security and video surveillance equipment in schools is well documented, with spending to continue as schools make a concerted effort to be more prepared and preventative in their overall security posture.
Highlights from recently published research from IHS Markit show that the education sector of the market for security equipment and services reached $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017, and is expected to reach $2.8 billion by 2021. Much of this growth, IHS reports, has occurred over the past 10 years.
IHS noted in its findings that new technologies are now currently being investigated to improve safety at schools. These technologies include:
- facial recognition
- logical and physical security identity management integration
- high-security classroom doors
Continued acts of violence in our schools is also driving heightened national awareness of a need for better security and emergency preparedness in our schools.
Key national security organizations such as the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA) and The Monitoring Association (TMA), are championing the cause to bring greater awareness and solutions for schools.
For example, at the recent ESA/ESX security conference in June, the Closing Keynote Luncheon focused on “Stronger Security, Safer Schools,” and featured a panel that included H “Butch” Browning, State Fire Marshal, Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal; Guy Grace, Director of Security and Emergency Planning, Littleton Public Schools (LPS); and Ryan Petty, Senior Vice President, Business Solutions, Cable & Wireless Communications. Petty lost his daughter Alaina in the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day 2018.
The panel looked at ways in which security technology can help make schools safer. It is no longer a privacy issue, as the majority are in favor of cameras on campus.
Government Advocacy and Action
SIA also focused on the topic of school safety in its most recent Government Summit held in Washington D.C. in June, with Jake Glacer, who survived the Parkland shooting, and his father, speaking on the importance of better safety and security procedures in schools.
A major policy priority for the Security Industry Association (SIA) since 2008 has been working with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on school safety grants. As provisioned in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, the DOJ will administer grants that will provide $25 million immediately, and $33 million annually to schools in need.
The money is earmarked for school security technology and equipment in addition to emergency communications systems and other coordination with law enforcement to enhance response capabilities.
Overall, the STOP School Violence Act included in the spending measure authorizes a total of nearly $1 billion in funding for DOJ school safety grant programs through 2028.
Features of Surveillance Systems in Schools
Although video surveillance and other security features have always been an important component to school security, recent developments in technology have made it an even more crucial aspect to a school’s overall security strategy.
The following are a few features of surveillance systems in schools that close the gap, reducing security threats.
The rise in the use of cameras throughout society, from home to businesses to schools and other buildings, is not only being driven by the need for higher security but also by increases in the capability of cameras today.
For example, video surveillance equipment technology has improved dramatically in just the past 5-10 years alone. Prices have dropped, making video surveillance an option for those who could not previously budget this key security solution.
Using cameras in combination with key access control points in a school is a great strategy, as it allows a school official to verify who is coming into the school and grant access when needed.
Moving beyond the benefits of video verification, video surveillance equipment can also help a school to take a more preventive approach to security.
For example, if there is a certain person or student who should not be on campus, cameras can alert staff as soon as they step on campus or park their car, allowing a school to take immediate action prior to the person trying to enter the school.
Security System Integration
Video surveillance equipment is most effective when integrated with other systems on campus, like access control, fire monitoring, and mass communication systems.
For example, being able to spot an assailant as he/she approaches the property enables school security or staff to lock down the school in real time, alert the authorities and send instructions and information to everyone in the school about what to do.
This also allows school officials to communicate effectively with law enforcement and other first responder and emergency personnel, giving them precise information as to the location of the possible threat, and helping them better protect students, faculty, and staff.
Integration and coordination are what was found to be lacking in many of the schools where shootings have taken place over the years. This is why it is essential that a school work with a security company that can integrate systems, ensuring they work together to their fullest capacity.
Education and training on what to do when there is an emergency is what school safety experts are emphasizing. This includes how to identify and report red flags, such as violent posts on social media, verbal threats made by students, etc., so action can be taken before something happens.
It has been reported that many times red flags are missed leading up to some of the tragedies such as the one that recently occurred in Parkland, FL.
Security and communication equipment is critically important in this new age of shifting towards being proactive rather than reactive, preventing an incident rather than simply responding once it’s already taken place.
Choosing a School Security Provider
When it comes to security in schools, be sure to research your options and work with a security company that understands all of the nuances of surveillance on campus.
A thorough understanding and expertise in school surveillance, as well as great customer service and support, go a long way in ensuring a safer environment for everyone.