14 Predictions for Campus Safety and Security in 2024

From emotional safety to AI-enabled technologies, practitioners and solutions providers offer predictions on where the industry is headed.

14 Predictions for Campus Safety and Security in 2024

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No one has greater insight into the trajectory of school and healthcare safety and security than practitioners and solutions providers. Each day, practitioners interact with patients and students, gathering data and input on well-being, safety considerations, and overall campus culture. Whether it is a teacher, a nurse, an administrator, a school resource officer, a guidance counselor, or a security director, the information they collect and the conversations they overhear or partake in daily are invaluable in making campuses a safe and welcoming place to learn, work, and heal.

Understandably, campuses are largely focused on safety and security matters that are unique to their population and surrounding environments. After all, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to campus safety; schools and hospitals must adapt to their evolving circumstances to make impactful decisions that improve student, patient, and staff welfare. Because of this, insights offered by solutions providers are equally valuable. These industry professionals have continued, regular discussions with campuses of all sizes and demographics. They can identify trends through these conversations and adapt their technologies or resources accordingly to fit each campus or district’s distinctive needs. They can share lessons learned from one campus with another campus that has similar wants and challenges.

To aggregate all of this indispensable knowledge, Campus Safety has reached out to both readers and advertisers to provide their predictions for the upcoming year. Each year, security incidents and societal issues force campus protection professionals to adapt and make changes in prevention, response, and recovery plans, which is why it is vital to continuously study and share lessons learned in both failures and successes.

Here are some predictions.

School Leadership Involvement in School Safety

Michael Garcia, K-12 Schools National End User Director, HID Global:

“K-12 school districts will continue to form safety committees across the U.S. to try and determine what is needed at their campuses. Without a true, certified security consultant on the team who understands district-wide comprehensive risk, this task will more than likely be performed by a roomful of people with multiple agendas.

School Board members and superintendents will finally begin to get Continuing Education Unit (CEU) training from their national and state associations on school safety and security. This training should focus on the people element – i.e., mental health first aid, behavioral threat assessments, creating a culture of safety, escalation processes, and procedures for students in crisis.

Facilitating the school-hardening and emergency-response training will be left primarily to the administration, but there will still be a lack of formal training on planning for security product purchases. This includes writing proper security RFPs for Division 8 (doors and door hardware) and 28 (electronic safety and security) requirements per the MasterFormat® project-specification standard and considering vendors’ past performance and ability to support platform unification and provide a proof of concept before purchase.

Some schools will still use their money to purchase flashy unproven products before they have their baseline technologies in place, which may create additional risk and disrupt district equity.

School leaders will finally have budgets to implement district-wide security and safety measures. They will need to understand as much as possible about the risk profile of each campus, along with proper mitigation procedures, before those budgets can be utilized for maximum benefit.”

Prioritization of Emotional Safety

Danielle Stevens, District Safety Manager, Lake Zurich CUSD 95 District, and 2023 Campus Safety Director of the Year winner

“In the upcoming year, I predict a significant increase in investment towards emotional safety in K-12 schools. While physical safety remains foundational, we recognize the indispensable importance of emotional well-being. The commitment to emotional safety is a key focus for our district, as we collaborate with our District Safety Committee to evaluate and expand our existing program.

Prioritizing emotional safety alongside physical safety involves building trust, promoting empowerment, and being sensitive to diverse needs and experiences. All stakeholders, including the entire student body, staff, parents, and first responders, are integral to the training process. Safety drills should adopt a trauma-informed approach, incorporating advanced communication, sensitivity to triggers, supportive staff presence, on-site student services, debriefing, and post-drill activities for classroom resetting.

Other ways to foster a sense of emotional safety come in the form of tools or supports/services available to stakeholders. A 24/7 confidential reporting tool with a direct channel can empower individuals to report concerns — facilitating early intervention and crisis prevention. Additional supports, such as regular visits from an emotional support dog and designated spaces like Calming Centers, can enhance feelings of emotional safety. Teaching strategies aimed at promoting respect, anti-bullying measures, and identifying trusted adults help build positive school communities.

Lastly, comprehensive training programs for staff on early identification and intervention for students in crisis, recognizing signs of trauma, and providing resources for students with unique needs are crucial. Supporting and collaborating with different community initiatives can help identify sources of support for individuals at risk of violence. This collaboration can also facilitate discussions and efforts to address other concerns (such as a documented increase in substance use in schools, which was the case in our district).

There are many areas to consider as we prioritize emotional safety. Initiatives such as those outlined above represent what I believe will be a central focus in 2024 and beyond.”

School and Healthcare Violence

Dr. Marisa Randazzo, Executive Director of Threat Management, Ontic:

“In 2024, we’ll begin to see an overall decrease in school violence, as several states have now enacted laws requiring behavioral threat assessment teams in schools as a key violence prevention tool. At the same time, there have been trends of false reports of active shooter incidents at schools around the country. When a false report is created, it adds a tremendous amount of stress not only to students, but teachers, staff, parents, and responding law enforcement. These ‘swatting’ calls are and will continue to impact schools and law enforcement as they continue to delegate resources to unfound threats, while also having the potential to further increase fatigue of all involved, including students and parents.

Elevated levels of stress and anxiety from the pandemic haven’t receded. Rather, we’re approaching a new ‘normal’ level of chronic anxiety. This high level of anxiety will continue to lead to targeted violence towards healthcare personnel.

Hospitals in 2024 will need to work closely with security teams to manage expectations, mediate disputes, and navigate this uncharted territory. They can also use threat assessment and threat management procedures to address situations where employees report that they are experiencing violence or threats from co-workers, patients, families, and more.”

Nurse and Patient Safety

Matt Kjin, Healthcare Segment Development Manager, Axis Communications:

“Through closely working with organizations in the healthcare space on their security and surveillance efforts, I’ve identified three key trends to watch out for in the new year:

  1. Body Worn/ Wearable Tech Adaptation: The number one trend I am seeing is more of a gravitation toward wearable tech like body-worn cameras. As healthcare organizations continue to deal with high levels of workplace violence, this type of solution will help to deter bad actors and protect staff, visitors, and other patients from harm, providing visual/audio documentation and supporting heightened transparency as needed.
  2. Virtual Nursing Boom: The COVID-19 pandemic sparked the initial virtual nursing spike which has continued through to today, and this type of offering will continue to grow and evolve throughout 2024. This means healthcare providers will increasingly need to implement new technologies – such as intelligent, analytic-enabled video and audio solutions – to enable nurses to do their jobs just as effectively in a virtual manner.
  3. Intensified Focus on the Patient Experience: Alongside mitigating workplace violence, one of the top priorities for healthcare in 2024 is enhancing the patient experience/increasing patient satisfaction. Again, this means organizations in the space will need to look to modern technologies, including network surveillance solutions, to help optimize business processes and support efficiency – without sacrificing quality of care.”

Andrea Greco, SVP of Healthcare Safety, CENTEGIX:

“The occurrence of violence against hospital staff rose during the height of COVID-19 and many organizations are still facing growing concerns. A 2023 survey revealed that 40% of healthcare workers experienced an incident of workplace violence in the last two years. In 2024, hospitals will invest in comprehensive safety programs to safeguard their staff from workplace violence, improve staff well-being, and improve patient care.

Hospitals with robust workplace violence prevention programs are anticipated to experience fewer retention and recruitment issues as the focus on staff safety gives workers peace of mind and improves the mental health of staff members. When staff members do not have to constantly worry about their personal safety, they can dedicate more focus to patients, ensuring better patient experiences and care. The implementation of safety programs will be a significant step towards addressing overall staff wellness and improving healthcare experiences for patients.”

The Human Element of School Security

Guy Bliesner, School Safety and Security Analyst, Idaho School Safety and Security Program:

“With zero school shootings always the goal, the tragic likelihood is there will be more acts of weapons violence in and around America’s K-12 schools in the upcoming year. This is despite significant investment in security infrastructure and, in many cases, well-intended governmental mandates. With history as the guide, the after-action review of these future incidents will identify human failure as a causal or major contributing element. Humans fail well more often than equipment or systems fail. This reality engenders both exposure and opportunity.

The exposure is obvious. The opportunity may be less so. Exposure is most often the result of physical security systems or processes in a school ineffectively applied or sporadically implemented. This is the ‘rock propping the exterior door open’ conundrum writ large. New equipment, more capable systems, and procedures will not address this failing. The opportunity here is the need and ability to affect the human element in school security. The answer is behavioral modification and enculturation is the method. A school community (students, staff, and parents) that actively embraces their security procedures and effectively utilizes the security tools available to them will unquestionably provide a safer and more secure school.

Enhanced funding for K-12 schools’ physical security improvements is a good thing. Improving effective use of a school’s available security tools is a good thing. Using one to leverage the other is the best thing. I have hope that there will be more understanding and application of this principle by K-12 schools in the upcoming year.”

Security Systems Integration

Anthony Seiler, Industry Director, Education K12, North America, Johnson Controls:

“Keeping students and staff physically safe will be top priority in 2024. We expect to see more districts integrate digital assets to provide stronger visibility into campus threats and vulnerabilities allowing for districts to take further action – a job that goes beyond a lone security guard. Integrated, digital building assessments will take an ‘always on’ approach, helping to provide stronger visibility into the safety of the school, and helping leaders take the appropriate actions to both prevent and respond to incidents.

ESSER funding, now in its final months, can allow districts to keep schools safe, while supporting energy efficiency, improved classroom education and streamlined online learning. K12 leaders who have yet to leverage this government funding should do so now, before time runs out.”

Bruce Montgomery, School Security Solutions Expert, Honeywell:

“I’ve spent most of my life in the pursuit of protecting others. From my five years in the United States Marine Corps in U.S. Embassies globally to 25 years as a police officer, and now working for the Honeywell Enterprise Security team for 11 years, safety has always been a priority. At Honeywell, I design systems to prevent physical attacks at your school, campus, or corporate facility and minimize the potential harm to your people. Though it’s difficult to predict when these threats could surface, I am committed to educating school security leaders on how to identify risks and proactively create an emergency plan that helps keep students, staff, and the community safe.

Unfortunately, the threat is often already within your building. In many cases, you’ve already trained them as a student, so they know what to expect from the local police department’s rapid deployment response. They already know how students and staff react to an emergency and RUN-HIDE-FIGHT training. Does that mean we stop training… ABSOLUTELY NOT! It means we must be faster and more strategic with our security deployments! The value of the training is still teaching staff, students, employees, and the police how to stay alive and stop violence if it happens.

In 2024, we will continue to see the improvement of weapon threat detection analytics and the integration of these technologies into a single platform for the end user. We will see federal spending made available to the public sector to mitigate the vulnerabilities made by the sale of Chinese cameras, HIK and Dahua. Honeywell itself is launching a camera buyback program for any school or public building using HIK or Dahua cameras to support the federal program.

I expect that federal support will continue, and we will start seeing language in federal grants that support the deployment of ‘integrated security platforms.’ There is arguably no better advantage to a school or campus security system than to have a fully integrated system with automated alerts with weapon or gunshot detection. Automating emergency response, eliminating human delay, and immediately notifying law enforcement with the correct information — all while simultaneously initiating a lockdown — will be the way to counter real threats within the school environment.”

AI-Enabled Technologies

Craig Oberschlake, Business Development Manager, Education, Bosch:

“Spending on safety and security in education is expected to increase again in 2024, as campuses look to reduce risks in buildings and on grounds. Technology-based security and safety solutions help mitigate these risks and increase operational efficiency while preserving a welcoming atmosphere that is essential to student and staff performance.

The use of artificial intelligence in security and safety solutions – such as cameras with built-in AI-driven analytics – will grow in 2024 as decision-makers learn more about their capabilities. AI-enabled cameras will help campus safety departments move toward a predictive approach to security as these devices can alert personnel to suspicious activity, unsafe conditions, or other critical situations before they become a problem. The cameras can detect crowd formations, trespassers on athletic fields at night, vehicles in restricted areas, and more. Combining video and audio AI can even help to visually detect the presence of a gun or to detect the sound signature of a gunshot and estimate its direction.

Moving beyond detection and alerts, campus safety personnel will also investigate integrating technology to enhance their response to risks and emergencies. Through integration, they can implement automated deterrence strategies and gain the ability for systems to initiate communications or security measures based on event triggers.

We also expect to see campuses explore how AI-based solutions can improve operations. Adoption of this technology to manage parking on campus, improve service to students and staff in dining halls or cafeterias, and identify hotspots or bottlenecks during athletic or other special events will begin to be tested in proof-of-concept implementations by forward-thinking leaders.

The goal, as always, will be to implement solutions that promote a sense of safety and satisfaction among the campus community, which is important to enhancing student, instructor, and staff outcomes in these environments.”

Jeffrey Yarbrough, Chief of Police, Hutto (Texas) Police Department:

“We are poised to witness a significant surge in the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) and comprehensive emergency mass communication systems in educational institutions in 2024. The increasing need exists for the true adoption of integrated communication systems designed to facilitate seamless interaction between campus staff, first responders, and various communication devices during critical incidents. The primary focus revolves around creating a real-time, interconnected network capable of instantaneous updates, notifications, and coordinated responses during critical incidents.

In recent years, we have seen the rise of safety concerns within educational institutions, which demands a proactive approach to enhance emergency response systems. The integration of multiple communication platforms, including campus desk phones, cell phones, and first responder radios, is crucial for swift and effective responses to critical incidents. With AI integrated into emergency communication systems, we will see a new depth of direct, uncluttered, and instantaneous communication between campus staff and first responders. This approach will eliminate communication barriers and delays such as requiring active event calls to route through telecommunications centers before reaching first responders on scene, thus ensuring the rapid distribution of critical information during emergencies. The availability of real-time data and communication will enable institutions to refine and improve safety protocols based on actionable insights derived from past incidents and real-time feedback.

AI-integrated emergency communication systems will create seamless interoperability between various devices, ensuring compatibility between campus infrastructure, first responder technologies, and personal devices. The integration of AI and predictive analytics will enhance emergency communication system capabilities to forecast potential threats and enable preemptive measures for more informed decision-making. The incorporation of the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart technologies will enable automated alerts, geolocation tracking, and sensor-based notifications. These technologies will further streamline communication and response efforts during emergencies. This interoperability will enable cross-platform communication, maximizing coordination and response efficiency. With the implementation of AI-integrated communication systems, instant updates and notifications will become the norm during critical incidents and will facilitate quicker decision-making and response times.”

Peter Evans, CEO, Xtract One Technologies

“As Generative AI revolutionizes security practices, companies must look beyond the hype and pragmatically incorporate the technology. In 2024, security tech will further reshape protocols. In 2024, I anticipate AI’s shift from a trendy buzzword to practical, purpose-built applications, aligning with a recurring trend in tech innovation. This evolution, reminiscent of past cycles like Segway and Google Glass, marks a departure from inflated expectations, emphasizing specific applications that effectively address real-world problems.

My second prediction highlights the shift of weapons detection systems from specific applications to mainstream requirements. Similar to fire alarms and access badges, organizations will begin to mandate proactive AI-driven systems for preventing weapon-related incidents. This shift will create a demand for next-generation solutions that scale cost-effectively and provide advanced insights, ushering in a new era of security protocols.

My third prediction anticipates Generative AI’s imminent mainstream adoption, mirroring the transformative impact of the early internet. This technology, still in its early stages, has the potential to redefine how we create, design, and innovate. The ripple effects across industries could be comparable to the revolutionary changes brought about by the internet, shaping how we work, communicate, and interact.”

Harrison Parker, Executive Vice President, Linewize

“We’ve only just begun to touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to generative AI and its potential, which is precisely why it will continue to be a trending topic in education. We know that tools such as ChatGPT have created a bit of a challenge for educators as students can take advantage of them, hindering their educational growth. This can sometimes cause school officials to want to block AI sites altogether. However, I would encourage school districts and EdTech companies alike to think about how we can work with these tools rather than against them. AI isn’t going anywhere, and students will likely find themselves needing to understand it and use it later in their lives. Finding a balance is key.

Take YouTube as an example of how schools have had to adjust their approaches to working with technology. When YouTube was first on the rise, it was seen only as a distraction that should be blocked completely. However, as more content was added to the website, some of it had true educational value. Now, our customers can work with us to determine what kind of content students can access on YouTube. Additionally, the website itself has implemented sensitivity and safety measures, including the creation of different “modes” for different age groups. We’re likely going to see similar developments come about in the generative AI space.

When used correctly, tools like ChatGPT can foster genuine creativity for both students and teachers, helping to spark out-of-the-box ideas. In fact, we have received feedback from teachers who have used ChatGPT for lesson planning inspiration. In the coming years, it’s likely that we’ll see the launch of more AI tools developed specifically for education, like EduGPT. I hope that these tools will provoke thoughts and creative thinking, rather than complete our thoughts for us.”

Video Management Systems

Mark Fletcher, VP Public Safety, 911inform

“Video is emerging as a key aspect in emergency communications with the majority of 911 calls originating from video-enabled cell phones. Collecting video of an emergency event by the PSAP is increasing, and new tools are being provided to the emergency communication center (ECC) call takers that allow this to happen seamlessly. Data and context is being collected and integrated directly into the CAD applications where it can then be easily attached to the incident and sent to field response units. This increasing appetite and bandwidth for video signals the importance of improving dispatch’s and first responders’ access to onsite video with integrated solutions to allow instant access and building control, which can improve overall situational awareness.

In addition to video, connected buildings will begin to contribute more and more information. As NG911 solutions and networks are being deployed nationwide, intelligent buildings and vehicles will start contributing more information from the field.

From an institutional perspective, more and more organizations are requiring staff to document and demonstrate compliance with campus safety regulations. Additional assessments are being performed of an organization’s state of readiness, and a failed inspection can result in the loss of a certificate of occupancy occurring until repairs are made. Often campus emergency plans, in addition to technology, are being asked for by inspectors. This is an area we should continue to foster and support to focus remediation efforts in a direction congruent with our technology.”

Chris Meiter, Chief Sales Officer, Salient Systems:

“Video management systems (VMS) are rapidly evolving and will continue to do so in 2024. In today’s world, video management systems (VMS) are being used beyond traditional security purposes. Organizations are leveraging VMS to gain business intelligence and improve operations and customer experiences. This expansion of VMS usage will have a significant impact on businesses, helping them comply with regulations and reduce workplace risks.

One area where VMS is evolving is analytics. VMS platforms now integrate analytics for forensic research, allowing operators to quickly review situations and understand what occurred. Real-time alerts using analytics, such as weapons detection and license plate recognition, provide immediate insights to security teams. It is expected that video analytics will continue to evolve, providing more advanced and accurate surveillance capabilities in the future. For example, smoke detection technology will offer preemptive alerting in buildings, preventing damage and lengthy shutdowns.

Facial recognition technology, on the other hand, will enhance security measures and streamline processes within healthcare facilities. With facial recognition integrated into access control systems, hospitals can ensure only authorized personnel have access to restricted areas, protecting patient privacy and sensitive information. It can also be used to reduce errors and improve the overall patient experience. Moreover, facial recognition technology can aid in identifying individuals with a history of theft or violence, enhancing security and preventing potential incidents. This technology can also assist in monitoring patient behavior, ensuring their safety and well-being, especially in mental health facilities. Another area where facial recognition holds promise is in patient identification. By accurately matching patients to their electronic health records, healthcare providers can reduce medical errors, improve patient safety, and streamline administrative workflows.

‘Camera to Cloud’ deployments are also emerging trends in video management. These offerings provide a secure connection to the cloud, eliminating the need for on-site servers or appliances. The increased availability of bandwidth and cloud VMS platforms make this a cost-effective solution. Video verification technology is also becoming essential, allowing immediate confirmation of intrusions or ongoing events. This empowers first responders and mitigates risks.

Advancements in analytics, facial recognition, and camera-to-cloud deployments will enhance security measures and operational efficiencies for hospitals, healthcare organizations, and school campuses in 2024. By leveraging these technologies, these institutions can enhance security and operational efficiencies, as well as protect assets and gain insights. The changing landscape of security presents opportunities for growth and innovation in the healthcare and education sectors.”

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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