Leveraging Video

5 New Ways to improve security for k-12 education facilities

It has been 13 years since e-cigarettes first entered the market. While the first generation resembled a cigarette, these devices now come in a sleek and high-tech design that is often able to be hidden in broad daylight. The rise of e-cigarettes, which is now known as vaping, has increased in recent years among youth and young adults. According to The Truth Initiative, in 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory about the youth e-cigarette “epidemic,” and since that time, rates have continued to increase in teens and young adults.

Vaping at School

However, the discreet nature of vaping makes it hard to detect when it’s being used on school grounds. Now, you might be wondering what vaping has to do with school security and video, but there’s growing evidence of the addictive nature of the substance and an increasing focus on ways to enforce rules around the use of these kinds of substances on school property.

It is also a part of a growing list of ways that video is being used to keep students safe from both outside threats and to enforce rules across the board.

Here, we discuss five new ways that video contributes to the safety and security of K-12 education facilities. Sensor technology integration. Video surveillance has its limitations when it comes to spotting vaping—in areas like bathrooms, locker rooms, or closets. Yet, with intelligent sensor technology, school administrators are able to promptly detect and respond to vaping and THC usage.

This type of environmental monitoring technology, which is growing in adoption across the education market, seamlessly integrates with video management software to provide stakeholders with a comprehensive view of alerts for enhance situational awareness.

Imagine a situation where instant detection from the sensor coupled with a wide-ranging network of cameras to easily track individuals, identify students responsible, and immediately address incidents.

Advanced analytics. In addition to monitoring with a network of high-performing cameras, analyzing data from video, and an overall situational awareness affords educators and administrators the opportunity to make critical decisions. Ensuring the safety of students and staffing an environment that is often chaotic and heavily traveled can become easier and a more proactive process.

Advanced intelligent systems, such as Edge Analytics, are integrated into the network of cameras and give school officials the ability to locate overcrowding and track the number of individuals traveling through — or even loitering within — a defined area using heat mapping and deep learning analytics.

The same technology can help manage unsafe traffic conditions in school parking lots and at on-premise intersections.

For example, to focus more on security and monitoring wary or unwanted visitors, license plate recognition (LPR) systems provide advanced detection and analytics for real-time video streams in parking lots and surrounding areas. The LPR software allows for access control and compares plates to any predetermined lists of suspicious vehicles.

Enhanced perimeter security. No matter how high or low the risk of violence, theft, or vandalism at one institution, it’s critical to evaluate the best practices on how to most effectively monitor for threats on outdoor security. Especially for schools that have an open campus with large spaces that are accessible to the public, areas such as sports fields, playgrounds, parks, and common social spots are not only vulnerable, but also likely to be places where crimes and dangerous incidents occur.

Fortunately, there are state-of-the-art surveillance systems that offer strategic security solutions: multi-sensor 360-degree panoramic views of a scene for total situational awareness, facial recognition and motion detection, fixed IP cameras to cover blind spots, and an integrated network of cameras designed specifically to deliver crisp video streams in all lighting conditions.

Pieces of the puzzle. Having the tools and capabilities to work expediently with emergency workers and first responders can make a world of difference. Indeed, there are now video management systems that have an open and integrated platform; school administrators own the system and can freely share both information and control.

By providing login credentials to mobile applications, dispatchers, local authorities, or other third parties, these groups can retroactively access video or stream in real-time to effectively respond to an incident. Officers will have a full picture — through imaging and the video analytics made available to them — so that they can identify all risks and assess the situation even before stepping on campus.

Reducing total cost of ownership. It may seem challenging for many institutions, regardless of size and funds, to invest in a high quality video surveillance system that falls within the strict budgetary constraint schools face. However, today’s multi-sensor panoramic cameras and video management systems have undoubtedly become more affordable.

What’s more, these systems are scalable and can be easily integrated with existing technology, additional features, and even third-party hardware — all on a centralized platform. Investments in streamlined video surveillance and campus security projects quickly become worth it, and save money down the road. With these emerging technologies and ease of service, school officials can say farewell to constant updates or debating future video enhancements with high costs and little compatibility.

Whether it’s time to increase perimeter security, adopt a security system with a better overall value, better manage spacial arrangements for maximum safety, streamline security operations with emergency responders in mind, or simply improve video capabilities to enforce school regulations around vaping, there are new and exciting surveillance technologies that can achieve the long-term goals for any K-12 education facility.

This article originally appeared in the September October 2020 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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