Schools are expected to be among the safest places around. Security at schools needs to be flawless. This is why school security cameras need to be among the best and most effective available. When it comes to the security of schools, there is no room for cutting corners, especially where school security cameras are concerned.
With the rise of bullying and increased awareness of things like bullying, school security cameras have become more important than ever before. And with the kinds of electronic equipment found in modern schools, it has become of the utmost importance to have school security cameras in place.
School security cameras provide at least two indispensable benefits. School security cameras make for a powerful deterrent simply by their presence. And school security cameras provide evidence in the event of any criminal activity. Not only can you prevent crimes from happening, but you can also make it much easier to prosecute crimes with the aid of school security cameras.
What are school security cameras? Why do schools need security cameras? And what are the different types of security cameras that work best in schools? This guide will give you the information you need on school security cameras.
What are School Security Cameras?
School security cameras are really just tools to help ensure the safety of school grounds, students and staff, and the equipment necessary for the school to operate properly. School security cameras provide surveillance and monitoring of designated areas to ensure safety.
Most school cameras are used primarily in areas that cannot be monitored effectively by faculty and staff. Areas where expensive equipment gets stored, areas that could become dangerous in the event of an intruder, or parts of the school that become points of danger can be monitored with school security cameras.
Why do schools need security cameras?
Schools need security cameras first and foremost to ensure the safety of students and staff. There has been a marked increase in things like school shootings in recent years. We have also seen an increased awareness of the problem of bullying in schools. One way to prevent these things from happening is to provide effective surveillance with school security cameras.
School security cameras often work as a deterrent. The mere presence of a security camera is frequently enough to dissuade people from committing criminal acts. The fact that anything they do can and likely will be recorded as evidence most often prevents people from committing a crime.
School security cameras also provide incontrovertible video evidence in the event of a crime. Thefts and other criminal acts can be prosecuted easily with the video evidence provided by school security cameras.
In the event of a violent situation, school security cameras can alert security personnel immediately and help facilitate quick intervention. No one wants to think about these things happening, but the best way to prevent them, or quickly de-escalate them, is by early detection and intervention with the assistance of school security cameras.
Different types of School Security Cameras
Schools typically rely on specific types of security cameras. The three most effective types of school security cameras include:
Bullet security cameras
A bullet camera is a small camera designed for security applications. The name comes from the small size of these cameras resembling bullets. The camera is typically connected to a surveillance system. These cameras allow businesses and individuals to monitor their property for suspicious activity.
Dome security cameras
Dome security cameras are named for their dome-like shape and structure. Dome security cameras are recessed into a vandal-resistant housing, and the rounded shapes make it possible for the range of these cameras to extend over a wide area.
PTZ security cameras
PTZ stands for Pan-Tilt-Zoom. These cameras are built with mechanical parts that allow them to swivel, tilt, or pan in almost any direction. PTZ cameras are most often used in wide-open areas that require a large range of visibility. Some PTZ cameras come with motion-activated software that will lock onto and track movement.
Each of these types of cameras will satisfy most security needs for schools. Larger schools may require some combination of all three to ensure maximum security on school grounds.
School Security Cameras System Guidelines by State
Laws and regulations vary slightly from state to state. Since 2020, there has been a steady increase in the number of schools that have installed security cameras. Shootings and other violent incidents have prompted school districts and private schools to approve the use of security cameras in schools.
While most people have been comfortable with the use of security cameras in schools, especially in common areas and areas that cannot be monitored by school staff, many have expressed concerns about student privacy and cases in which schools have installed security cameras in places like restrooms.
The federal government states some best practices for the use and placement of school security cameras:
- a clear statement of appropriate reasons for using surveillance cameras;
- the role and responsibilities of individuals with access to the cameras;
- who will have access to any footage;
- how long will any footage be kept and how will it be destroyed; and
- a consent provision.
The National Center for Education Statistics provides a detailed explanation of federal and state studies on school security cameras. The Alliance of Schools for Cooperative Insurance Programs provides a lengthy pdf that details laws and regulations around the nation and from the federal government.
The State of Florida enacted laws this year that impact and regulate the use of security cameras in schools. These statutes can be found on the website for the State of Florida.
School Security Cameras Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons to the use of security cameras in schools. While it is easy to just react to the alarmist headlines, it makes sense to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of security cameras in schools. The pros of security cameras in schools are:
Improved emergency response and preparedness
Video surveillance is one of the best ways to prepare and respond to problems, often before they escalate into something dangerous. Security cameras reveal the presence of unauthorized people on school grounds well before anything can actually happen. Security personnel or school staff can meet unauthorized people at the door before they ever enter the school itself. Video surveillance also makes it possible for staff and security personnel to respond to a situation immediately to prevent harm to students, staff, and school property.
With sound security cameras, school personnel are best prepared to respond to incidents quickly, share footage and information with emergency personnel, and proactively respond to potentially suspicious activity.
Decrease theft, vandalism, and potential threats
As we noted above, the mere presence of security cameras can often deter potential crimes before they are committed. Thieves and vandals most often will not commit crimes against the property when they can plainly see they are being monitored and recorded.
Many schools use bullet cameras specifically for their deterrent effect. Bullet cameras stand out and are obvious wherever they are placed. Anyone in or around school grounds can plainly see that the school is being monitored with video surveillance. This can frequently prevent a problem from occurring in the first place.
Create a safer environment for students and teachers
Security cameras in schools are generally to prevent criminal activity and to prevent catastrophic events. But security cameras in schools also make it possible to monitor students and staff. Issues like harassment and bullying can be monitored or prevented with the strategic placement of security cameras. By making it possible for staff to monitor activities within the school, it is much easier to reduce or eliminate problems like harassment and bullying.
Monitor and control access to grounds and buildings
Security cameras alert staff to who is entering the school grounds and school buildings. The most immediate use of school security cameras is to offer staff a clear picture of who is coming and going. The best way to control access and monitor who enters the property is to simply see them on a security camera.
Security staff can easily monitor key access points. Security cameras are the best way to monitor areas on school grounds that are out of the way and hard to keep an eye on during the course of a normal day.
The pros of security cameras in schools are:
Legal and privacy concerns
The use of security cameras in schools falls under the control of a number of legal codes and regulations. Since privacy is always an issue with the use of security cameras, the legal considerations with the use of security cameras in schools can be complex. School security cameras have to adhere to the laws regarding privacy and other legal requirements.
Expense of security cameras and security systems
Some of the cameras and security systems can be quite expensive. The cameras themselves can be expensive and the cost of installing and properly operating them can also become a cost factor for many schools. School budgets may not be able to cover the cost of properly installing and operating security cameras.
Creates an atmosphere of mistrust
The presence of security cameras throughout a school can create an environment of mistrust. These kinds of intrusions can set up an adversarial relationship between students and staff, and they can distract from learning and the primary mission of any school.
Inability to prevent active crimes
Even with school security cameras in place and monitored by trained staff, the cameras do not prevent active crimes. Once something happens, the presence of cameras does little more than alert staff that an incident has occurred.
Best School Security Cameras
As noted above, the best types of cameras for schools include things like bullet cameras. These can be clearly seen by anyone, and they offer the benefit of deterrence as well as monitoring and recording. Dome cameras are ideal because of the wide range of vision they provide. Dome cameras can make it possible for security staff to monitor hard-to-see areas. PTZ cameras will offer the widest and longest range of any of the security cameras.
School Security Cameras FAQs
What are School Security Cameras? School security cameras are really just tools to help ensure the safety of school grounds, students and staff, and the equipment necessary for the school to operate properly. School security cameras provide surveillance and monitoring of designated areas to ensure safety.
Why do schools need security cameras? Schools need security cameras first and foremost to ensure the safety of students and staff. There has been a marked increase in things like school shootings in recent years. We have also seen an increased awareness of the problem of bullying in schools. One way to prevent these things from happening is to provide effective surveillance with school security cameras.
What are the different types of school security cameras? The most commonly used security cameras in schools are bullet cameras, dome cameras, and PTX cameras.
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