Know a Lot About History, Know a Lot About Security

Data from cameras and other systems can increase understanding of events and contribute to a holistic approach to school security

Steve Birkmeier, Arteco

Jumbi Edulbehram, Oncam

Safeguarding campuses is a complex, multi-faceted process. The stringent requirements and security challenges of higher education and K-12 facilities propel users to seek out advanced insights to facilitate quick responses and more informed decision-making.

It is no secret that the occurrence of violence in schools is a very real threat. With the extensive media coverage of incidents in K-12 schools, as well as on college campuses, these facilities may no longer feel like safe havens for education. As a result, schools have adopted policies and security measures to combat modern-day threats in an effort to reduce the risk of violence. One such solution is the installation of video surveillance, security software and other technologies that can be integrated to create a comprehensive safety and security plan. From a process standpoint, school stakeholders strive to enhance security training, develop response plans and collaborate with other school districts to stay ahead of the game.

It is an unfortunate fact that real-world threats continue to multiply and expand within the education environment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 to 2 percent of all homicides among school-age children happen on school grounds, on the way to and from school, or during a school-sponsored event, and approximately 17.9 percent of high school students in 2013 reported taking a weapon to school. That same year, 19.6 percent of high school students reported being bullied on school property.

These statistics show that campus security teams must keep pace with changing trends and threats.

In today’s risk environment, schools can no longer afford to take a passive approach to security.

Furthermore, the trend toward newer facilities and larger, expanding campuses necessitates more advanced systems, policies, and programs – a holistic approach, if you will – to ensure protection for students, faculty and staff members.

The security industry focuses on developing technologies and services that enable higher levels of safety, increased intelligence, and more proactive processes. Video surveillance solutions have proved valuable to schools of all types and sizes because these platforms help users identify notable events and potential anomalies while allowing users to gain access to the most relevant video and security information at any given time. The focus is on identifying critical events and areas of interest, enabling stakeholders to use truly intelligent data (rather than non-critical video) to help ensure the protection of students, staff, data, and infrastructure. The industry collectively tries to help schools access the most important information to produce more informed responses, increase situational awareness and improve overall security management.

The focus is on identifying critical events and areas of interest, allowing stakeholders to use truly intelligent data to help ensure the protection of students, staff, data and infrastructure.

Campus Security Trends

With the risk landscape expanding and the installed base of IP cameras growing significantly, campus security personnel need more ways to acquire intelligence from their technology investments. Moving forward, video surveillance systems are going to be judged based on how quickly and easily they can aggregate video within the new “big data” landscape.

Another trend that will have an enormous impact on video management systems is the proliferation of advanced video analytics, not just for security applications but also for operational efficiency. Schools will begin to find new use cases for video surveillance in the very near future. Here are some of the trends that will drive new levels of intelligence in campus environments.

Correlated Data

The best way to get a clear grasp on trends, events, and incidents is to capture the whole story. Knowledge is power, and data derived from video surveillance, business systems and video intelligence sensors can be combined to allow security and law enforcement to capture essential information in an accurate and timely manner. Additionally, departments within schools, such as IT, security and operations, will continue to converge to streamline operations and develop more robust strategies that benefit the overall organization.

Knowledge is power, and data derived from video surveillance, business systems and video intelligence sensors can be combined to allow security and law enforcement to capture essential information in an accurate and timely manner.

Intelligence

Having all of the information is the first step, but using it to create actionable intelligence is key. Combining video data with analytics gives officials the ability to better evaluate traffic flow and people’s behavior patterns. Data analytics, meanwhile, examine raw data from various sources for the purpose of drawing usable conclusions about that information. This analytics can be used to measure student engagement and offer administrators an inside look at how students perform in the classroom, engage with lesson plans and understand the material.

Proactive Investigations

The ability to capture and store data, and transfer it cohesively across platforms, aids in the research and analysis phase of addressing incidents. And the faster the data can be collected to be used forensically, the better the chances of solving a case. Being able to look back – and forward, in some cases – helps to resolve issues, as well as prepare for future threats. Schools need to adopt programs and solutions that produce the intelligence needed to be more proactive in overall security efforts.

Open-Door Policy

Technologies that focus on easing the path to integration enable schools to correlate data points from multiple devices and systems. This approach allows stakeholders to combine information in one interface to create a full view of a situation at any given time. Combining video with other security and non-security solutions, such as fire and intrusion alarms, access control, emergency management equipment, IT systems, and building management, makes this possible.

The evolution of crime and threats has been met by the evolution of technologies to combat them. Using approaches such as those described above can enhance both school security and the learning environment.

Campus Security Coalition

The Campus Security Coalition was created to address the security concerns of educational institutions and help them maximize intelligence and security efforts. It is designed to bring together school leaders and other stakeholders and promote discussions about how to better address threats, strengthen security efforts and realize more effective intelligence efforts.

The coalition comprises educational end users, administrators, consultants, architects and technology providers. Members can use the valuable resources and information they acquire as part of the group to enhance school security plans.

Membership is open to professionals with experience in school security and safety initiatives, schools and school districts, educational administrators, consultants, campus police and security leaders. There are also opportunities for security product and service providers to participate. The coalition produces a newsletter that includes news and trends on security and safety, features on leading practitioners, and strategies and techniques aimed at helping position school security programs for success.

Grant Program

Faced with growing threats of violence, vandalism, and other criminal activity, school systems are challenged with protecting people, infrastructure and assets while maintaining an open environment. Budget constraints often limit the availability of dollars for security enhancements. The coalition has developed a grant program that seeks to assist schools by partnering with leading technology vendors and installers to provide the tools and services necessary to strengthen situational awareness and security intelligence.

As part of this year’s program, the coalition invites schools of all sizes and types to apply for a grant. One school will be selected to receive the hardware, software and additional equipment necessary to implement a security technology upgrade. The grant application period will close on Oct. 15, 2017.

The Value of Collaboration

Educational institutions have experienced a significant increase in threats that put the lives of students and faculty members at risk. While the demand for better security measures has risen, the adoption of new solutions can be hindered by a lack of cohesion across varying segments. By bringing stakeholders together, the Campus Security Coalition is seeking to enable more coordinated and effective approaches to school security.


Jumbi Edulbehram (jedulbehram@oncamgrandeye.com) is regional president, Americas, for Oncam (www.oncamgrandeye.com), and Steve Birkmeier (sbirkmeier@artecous.com) is vice president of sales and business development for Arteco (www.arteco-global.com).

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