Campus security is a big deal. With thousands–or even tens of thousands–of people in a single location each day, the chances of a crisis or emergency increase drastically. Universities spend a lot of time strategizing the best way to prevent and mitigate such situations.
Video surveillance cameras are one such option. According to the 2019 Video Surveillance Campus Safety report, students at 96 percent of universities report that their school use some form of video surveillance.
Security cameras are effective for several different reasons. Here are the five main benefits a campus may enjoy, plus insight on where to place security cameras.
1. Better Coordination of Crisis Response
It’s hard to respond to a crisis if law enforcement or security personnel don’t know where it’s occurring. Disasters are, by nature, unexpected. Confusion about the location or the exact nature of the emergency slows down response time.
Likewise, a robust network of security cameras can assist with the coordination of crisis response. For instance, images and videos can be rapidly transmitted to security, police, paramedics and other first responders.
When coordinated with IT, it can also help spot crises before they occur. For example, when a student pulled the fire alarm at the University of Florida in 2013 to stop a school shooting, the rapid response of emergency personnel scared the would be perpetrator and prevented the attack.
2. Amplify Existing Security Measures
Most schools already use a variety of visual security measures to maintain campus security. For example, a common strategy is the badge ID, and many schools require students to wear them visibly. While it’s not necessary for surveillance devices to be able to read the tag on the badge, it’s relatively easy for them to spot an individual not wearing one.
3. Visible Cameras Deter Crime
It’s been known since at least 1978 that visual displays of law enforcement and security deter crime because they decrease the perception of opportunity. For instance, the placement of security personnel at the entrance of a store is scientifically proven to deter most shoplifters.
Further research shows that visible security cameras work the same way to decrease the perception that an area is conducive to opportunity for crime. As long as the potential offender is aware of the camera’s presence, and believes that the risks outweigh the rewards, they’re more likely to pass on an “opportunity” when they think it’s probable that they’ll get caught.
4. Increased Ability to Monitor Large Areas
Small campuses may have fewer than 5,000 students. The largest schools, however, have over 30,000 students and sprawl for acres. Such an immense amount of space proves a challenge to monitor continuously, even for the most seasoned campus security professionals.
Security cameras make such a feat not only possible, but also efficient. For example, one well-placed security camera in a parking lot can significantly mitigate the occurrence of injuries, accidents, and assaults.
5. Inform Campus Policies
Policies are almost always a work in progress as organizations and educational institutions update, adapt, and refine their positions. Video surveillance can assist with this by allowing policymakers to gather data about an environment or student behavior.
For example, by observing the flow of foot traffic through specific areas such as screening areas in hallways, security professionals can assess the effectiveness of a procedure. Likewise, it can help spot unsafe behaviors or potential hazards before they occur, which the current security policy may not have considered.
The Best Places for Campus Security Cameras
It’s essential to place security cameras strategically to get the most out of them. Thoughtful placement potentially enables the use of fewer cameras, cutting down on the amount of footage hours professionals might need to spend reviewing. Consider campus security cameras in places such as:
- Areas which are remote and may be poorly lit, such as parking lots.
- Major entrances to campus.
- Hallways which are isolated and see relatively little foot traffic.
- Areas where students congregate, such as a student union.
- Outside of computer or science labs which house expensive equipment.
Get the Right Video Surveillance System with CDS
CDS offers state-of-the-art campus security surveillance systems to support a secure educational environment. Our systems are designed to work with and amplify the ability of your IT department to monitor and assess potentially dangerous situations.
There is no system or campus too big or small. CDS has the camera system to fit your needs. Reach out and start a conversation with a surveillance specialist in Springfield Illinois today. We also have local offices in Bloomington, Champaign, Chicago, Marion, Peoria, and Quincy in Illinois, and in St Louis Missouri.