Navigating Emergency Response
How map-based integrations can help schools tighten security
- By Paul Messenger
- December 01, 2021
In the face of increased violence in schools around the United States, one Northeast school district made a plan to upgrade their VMS to tighten security. With its ability to enact quick response using mobile and map-based functions during an event, Milestone’s surveillance system was at the top of the class.
Help Keep Kids Safe
For schools around the United States, increased violent crime and active shooter situations have brought a sharp focus on safety, and polls show the growing fears among American parents. In response, a Northeast school district planned an upgrade for their access control system and the deployment of new video security technology.
To ensure the safety of staff, students and the community as a whole, the district safety committee took a careful approach to school security by insisting that the upgrade teamwork closely with local emergency responders, including police, fire departments and local homeland security officials. Decisions made were that responding officers should be able to access the district's video from their squad cars and remote devices, in addition to the central dispatch office.
Because Milestone software enables integrations with countless third-party vendors, the XProtect VMS was the choice to set the new course.
Mapping Security Breaches
• Milestone XProtect Expert VMS and Smart Client
• Remote access and monitoring with Milestone Mobile
• Entrance access control from LenelS2 Security
• Network cameras from Axis Communications and MOBOTIX
• Consulting and implementation by Digital Surveillance Solutions (DSS)
XProtect Expert is at the core of the surveillance system, controlling user access, camera and recording settings, viewing, searching, archiving and evidence sharing. The advanced mapping features and remote video access are key to the schools’ requirements for sharing video with authorities. The integrated surveillance solution works with the video intercom system for 2-way audio and access control at public entrances.
Situational Awareness when Seconds Count
Streaming, real-time video from the cameras is available at the police department, fire department and in mobile police units. In the event of an emergency, a map-based interface in the district's VMS lets responding officers navigate fast to see campus buildings and click on logically named camera locations to check what is happening.
The seamless integration of the access control system with the VMS has enabled the schools to keep track of any attempted entry by unauthorized people. School administrators can access camera views in their respective buildings, and district office staff can view video in all buildings.
In addition to dealing with potential or active external threats, the video security system delivers overall campus visibility and discourages vandalism, student conflicts and after-hours trespassers. A resource officer for the district noted that with the system in place, the incidence of crime dramatically decreased to almost nothing. If things do occur, video evidence is highly valued in criminal or liability investigations.
Conserving Operational Resources
School facility staff can access cameras remotely for more logistical uses, like viewing parking lots after a particularly snowy night to determine if school property should be snow plowed, or schools should close that day.
Overall, the increased real-time situational awareness has not only contributed to a peace of mind across the community, but recorded video evidence has saved the district resources in crime investigations and reporting. And, that means all stakeholders are able to focus more on the important task of educating the country’s youth.
About Crime in K-12 School Districts
According to the School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) data from 2017-2018 showed that 66% of public schools recorded physical attacks or fights without a weapon, and 21% of schools reported at least one serious violent incident. From 2018 through 2020, Statista numbers K-12 shootings increased to circa 115 each year for incidents where guns were brandished, fired, or hit school property.
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) also funded creation of a database to track shootings on K-12 school grounds. This research aims to uncover why multiple-victim homicide incidents have been increasing. In 2019, a Federal Data Strategy also began to examine data on school safety. Both efforts can help to better understand the nature and extent of violent crime that occurs in U.S. schools — and ultimately how best to prevent future incidents.
This article originally appeared in the November / December 2021 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.