5 Pros of Security Cameras in Schools

School administrators and staff have many responsibilities, and there is no doubt that student safety is a top priority.

To keep students safe, schools must have the proper security systems in place to protect them from everyday problems as well as incidents such as natural disasters or unthinkable events like active shooter situations.

It’s a difficult job, and parental and societal concerns have increased over the years. In response to these challenges, security cameras are increasingly being used in schools to mitigate these risks and maintain safety. 

Bottom line:  The five key benefits of security cameras in schools are: 

  1. Improved Access Control
  2. Crime Prevention
  3. Student Safety
  4. Teacher Safety
  5. Emergency Preparedness

In this article, we’ll cover the five benefits that security cameras provide schools and share some practical examples of how schools are using them to improve safety and deter crime.


1. Security cameras improve access control

School entrace access point.

The protection of students and teachers starts with being able to see who enters and leaves the grounds, ensuring that they have proper authorization and are not trespassing. 

Most schools have multiple access points, making it difficult to keep track of them all. Access control means securing the perimeter of the school’s property, including each point of entry.

Preventing unauthorized access with a traditional lock and key system is not the best option for schools. Gone are the days when schools used to rely on the local janitor to manage physical keys.

Although access control systems are essential, combining them with security cameras allows school administrators to: 

  • Monitor all entry points in a centralized manner. 
  • Obtain a visual record of who is entering and exiting the school building. 
  • Remotely monitored events in real-time or later with recorded footage.

School security cameras improve visitor management

School main entrance visitor screening.

Today’s modern schools are opting for smart electronic solutions that facilitate the check-in process and provide digital records.

Security cameras can be used to monitor all access points effectively and respond appropriately to any given situation. That is why more and more schools are choosing to integrate security cameras into their safety program.

Considering today’s threat environment, it makes sense to integrate access control systems with security cameras. Combining them helps generate actionable video data thus strengthening the school’s security posture.

Importance of security cameras in schools

School security cameras offer students, staff and parents a level of support and reassurance that very few tools are able to deliver. With modern security cameras, a school can take a proactive approach when it comes to security. Security cameras improve a school’s ability to detect issues and respond to them in a much more efficient manner.

School security camera.

Various reports and case studies have shown that having a video surveillance system can deter a significant amount of crime. The University of North Carolina found that half of all the surveyed burglars would flee the area after discovering cameras.

There is a reason why over 80 percent of public schools and 95 percent of high schools in the U.S. have security cameras.

The Oregon City School system is a good example. The district recently announced that they are expanding their state-of-the-art security camera system.

Oregon school security camera.

Currently, there are more than 100 security cameras on Clay High School’s campus that cover both the interior as well as the exterior of the campus. The school is the largest in the district in Oregon in terms of student population size.

Authorized staff members such as the principal, assistant principal or school resource officer can access the live camera footage from anywhere. It can also be viewed at the Oregon Police Division’s dispatch center to track a person’s movements at any school. 

2. Crime Prevention

School hallway lockers crime.

During the 2017–18 school year, 80 percent of public schools recorded that one or more incidents of violence, theft or other crimes had taken place, amounting to 1.4 million incidents.

Contrary to popular belief the greatest threat to the safety of schools is not an active shooter event. In the 2018-2019 school year, only 6% of all incidents involved a school shooting.

School violence, vandalism, gang activity, bullying and theft are more common events that not only interfere with academic achievement but also put massive pressure on schools.

Pros of security cameras in schools

Placing security cameras in strategic areas is an effective way to deter crime. Criminals are always on the lookout for cameras and their top priority is to avoid being captured. Security cameras placed on and around the school campus and its perimeter provide schools with many advantages including:

  • Monitoring entrances to ensure only authorized students, staff, and visitors obtain access.
  • Preventing vandalism.
  • Protecting students and staff members.
  • Improved Security Awareness!

When you see how security cameras can transform a high-risk area into a safe environment, the benefits of getting them in schools become apparent.

Advantages of surveillance cameras in schools

An elementary school in Florida kept being vandalized. After months of failed attempts to stop or catch the criminals, the school district decided to upgrade its security.

Among the upgrades, the district requested additional patrols from local deputies and added security cameras to monitor their perimeter. School officials highlighted the importance of security cameras and how they use them to improve their security setup.

Security Cameras in school parking lots

Parking lots in general are the third most common place where crimes occur, with nearly 1,400 violent crimes committed each day. Most schools in the United States have parking lots for students and teachers to use as a convenient way to enter and exit campus.

Being that this is one of the busiest and therefore highest safety risks for schools, it makes sense to use security cameras to monitor this area. This is true from both a safety as well as an operational perspective.

When security cameras are placed in plain sight, studies have shown that it reduces criminal activity and promotes a sense of security. Security cameras in parking lots also assist with:

  • Crime prevention: Visible security cameras help to deter thieves from breaking into cars.
  • Investigations: archived surveillance footage can be used to identify individuals who have committed crimes or breached school policies.
  • Security awareness: Parking lot security cameras are an important piece of any security awareness program that seeks to detect and deter crimes before they happen.

3. Security cameras support student safety

In 2017, around 827,000 students aged 12 to 18 became victims of non-violent crimes within their school campus. Schools, as public educational institutions, have a critical duty to ensure the safety of their students and teachers while on school grounds.

While we all hope that nothing ever goes wrong, schools are not immune to safety and security risks.

Security cameras can help not only keep students safe but they can also be used to identify high risk areas on the school premises.

Importance of CCTV cameras in schools

Far too many tragedies have made it clear that schools are always at risk of an incident. For school administrators, security cameras are an indispensable safety tool.

While active shooter incidents rightfully get most of the media’s attention, there are many other safety and security challenges that school administrators have to deal with.

School hallway security camera.

Security cameras can help not only keep students safe but they can also be used to identify high risk areas on the school premises.

  • Monitoring entraces and exits: Entrance and exit points are vulnerable so having an eye on them are essential to safety.
  • Monitoring potential risk areas: Monitoring hallways and corridors is crucial to maintaining proper security. If any event occurs, having the ability to tap into the security camera system remotely will aid law enforcement.

4. Security cameras support teacher safety

Teachers are on the front line of school security. They deserve a safe and positive work environment where they can focus on their students without worrying about their own security.

In addition to all the challenges teachers were already facing, the pandemic added new health and safety concerns that require attention. In the aftermath of the pandemic, many schools are considering high-tech security products including thermal security cameras that are able to take student temperatures.

Advantages of having CCTV cameras in schools

A surveillance system improves a school’s security program in many ways. First, it enhances the way school officials are able to communicate and coordinate security plans. It also helps to deter potential external as well as internal threats.

Although the use of security cameras in classrooms remains somewhat controversial, most educators support their use in communal spaces such as hallways, cafeteria and entranceways. While there are numerous benefits to installing security cameras, schools must consider any potential downside as well.

PROSCONS
1. Improved Access Control
2. Crime Prevention
3. Student Safety
4. Teacher Safety
5 Emergency Preparedness
1. Potential legal and privacy concerns.
2. Can cause friction if not integrated properly.
3. Financial constraints may limit a school’s ability to purchase effective systems.

In most cases, schools face pushback when they fail to implement their security cameras in a transparent and professional manner. That’s why it is important to work with professional security integrators that understand all the ins and outs of installing school security systems.

5. Security cameras assist in emergency preparedness

Emergency preparedness means having a system in place to prevent, prepare, respond and recover from emergencies that are caused by natural disasters and unthinkable events such as active shooter scenarios. Security cameras combined with a well-trained staff is an effective way to ensure a school is ready for various emergency situations.

Security cameras provide enhance a school’s ability to respond to an emergency. Security cameras that provide schools access to centralized footage give them the ability to quickly find incidents of interest, and more importantly share this footage with authorities. This combination gives schools the best chance at quick, safe, and calm emergency resolution.

Cloud-based security cameras help during emergencies

Cloud connectivity does more than stream recorded footage. With cloud-based cameras schools can access the live camera feed at any time and more importantly they can share their feed with local law enforcement during emergency situations.

School security survillance center.

Partnerships between school districts and local law enforcement agencies are making it easier to spot intruders or focus on emergency situations should they arise. An excellent example of this implementation is happening in the Middleton-Cross Plains School District.

Their cloud-based security system enables police to tap into its live surveillance feed and communicate in emergency situations like a fire or an active shooter. The school district has over 400 cameras districtwide and law enforcement has access to all of them at any time.

Conclusion

School security will remain an important issue for years to come. Having security cameras that can monitor strategic areas not only protects students but also improves the overall safety of the school.

Security camera systems have proven their effectiveness in various school settings. They are cost-effective, simple to operate, and can be used in a variety of ways.  Five benefits of security cameras in schools are:

  1. Improved Access Control– The integration of access control systems for schools with security cameras helps schools monitor entry points and provides them with both a digital and visual record of who is entering and exiting your school building.
  2. Crime Prevention-Security cameras provide an effective measure to enhance the security of school premises and deter crime.
  3. Enhanced Student Safety-School security cameras help administrators maintain safety while also discouring bad conduct such as vandalism, bullying, and violence.
  4. Better Teacher Safety-Various reports indicate that teachers support security cameras in public areas because of the safety reassurance the security cameras provide them.
  5. Emergency Preparedness-Security cameras are instrumental in assisting school officials during emergencies. They provide them with real-time data and enable them to collaborate with law enforcement when necessary.

Schools are able to get the most out of their security cameras when they combine them with other systems such as access control and intercom communication systems.

Although security cameras have many advantages, school administrators will be better served by partnering with a reputable security firm that can provide them with reliable information and exceptional support.

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