Q: Why all the buzz about video surveillance?
A: Student and staff safety is a top priority in schools. A properly planned and installed security camera system can help ensure safety on school grounds, potentially allowing schools to nip small problems in the bud before they become larger issues. A good surveillance system and well thought out procedures for regular review of surveillance video can help schools gain a better understanding of incidences of crime, bullying, fighting, and bad conduct. Lastly, a good solution and comprehensive review practices can provide solid feedback on internal response to incidents and provides for a coaching tool to solidify campus-wide adherence to policies & procedures.
I’m not a technician, but I’ve heard “IP” is the latest thing – why is that? There is a very strong trend toward implementation of IP Security Camera Systems, as opposed to older “analog” technologies. Here’s a little secret – many people couldn’t tell the difference between an image from an IP camera and a good quality analog camera. The real advantage to an IP security camera system lies in its – 1) Ease of Installation, 2) Flexibility to reconfigure the system for changing needs and, 3) the ability to view and share video across the internet and on multiple platforms such as desktop PC’s, handheld wireless devices, and mobile communication devices.
I want students and staff to BE safer and to FEEL safer – what about that? Study after study reveals that school security cameras do both. CONSPICUOUSLY placed cameras reduce all manner of violence, crime, and misbehavior. Security cameras serve notice to “the bad apples” that you’re watching them, and they let the “good apples” know that you’re looking out for them. WIN-WIN.
These days, EVERYONE has a lawyer – what about privacy? Great question! School security cameras should be placed in public areas of your school and surrounding grounds. Generally speaking, they shouldn’t be placed in areas where students or staff would reasonably assume they have privacy. Proper signage should be used to inform the campus population that surveillance cameras are in place and recording. You should always check with local and state laws specific to recording of surveillance video. Factually, most schools don’t encounter a great deal of difficulty in planning and implementing an effective security camera system while safeguarding privacy.
I’m raring to go – where do I sign up? Your enthusiasm is infectious! But let’s slow down a bit to consider your individual needs before signing on the dotted line and handing over your hard-won budgetary funding.
• What is your biggest security problem?
• Do you have any existing systems in place?
• Does your school district have an existing policy in place regarding security cameras?
• Have there been specific instances when you thought “I wish I had that on video?”
• Are there specific problem areas within the school or on school grounds?
I’ve learned a lot. How do I get started?
• Start conversations with students, staff, and parents. Ask them about their concerns, both for safety and for privacy. Tell them about your concerns.
• Discuss plans with school administration and school board personnel to gain their participation in the conversation.
• Find a quality company with experience in both the technologies and the practical aspects of successful implementation in environments like yours. They can share their experiences and help you understand how to take your vision and develop YOUR SOLUTION. ■