Campus Protection Pros Share Their Security Camera Successes, Challenges, Advice

This year’s Video Surveillance Survey participants described some of the benefits and pitfalls of their camera systems, as well as advice they would offer their peers about this technology.

The nearly 600 participants in this year’s Campus Safety Video Surveillance Survey were, once again, quite forthcoming with their comments, both positive and negative, about the security camera systems installed at their schools, institutions of higher education, and/or healthcare facilities. They also offered some great advice that other campuses might want to heed.

Check out their comments below:

Successes

  • In less than a year, we were able to turn a very ineffective surveillance system into a highly productive system by working with an integrator and creating full time positions that utilize the system. It has been a force multiplier 10x over.
  • We have a campus-wide system with over 1100 camera streams, 15 NVRs, and a full-time security systems administrator position to manage and oversee maintenance, expansion, and repairs. We control the use of security cameras on our campus through a security camera policy. We utilize LPR readers in select parking lots. Our security camera system has some limited integration with our access controls system for video intercom and remote door unlock.
  • One the best features that was added to our system was the ability for the program to automatically go out the web and update the time on our system. Prior to that addition, we would find our camera system would migrate to a minute or 2 off.
  • They have helped to resolve several fender benders in our parking lot.
  • Our systems are used for investigations more than anything else.
  • This is an important tool that can help in many areas IF the tool is used properly. Not being lax in any situation or usage of the equipment.
  • At my school, we have four PTZ cameras one on each side of the school that can pan left/ right, up/down, & zoom in/out. Have overall total of 58 cameras that can record & store video for 6 months.
  • Used daily to monitor student movement.
  • Our comm center utilizes cameras on almost all public safety responses to provide real-time information to the responding officers. They are also used for investigations and special events.
  • 1200+ camera streams 15 high-capacity NVRs One main campus site, one remote location.
  • I use them often and love our system.
  • Helps us to investigate problems with students especially, fighting.
  • In the current climate, I would hate to think about not having a Video Surveillance System in place. We use it every single day – and night. I am the only SRO at my school and I can virtually patrol the school watching multiple cameras at one time.
  • As the nurse I often ask our police officer to review injuries that occur in our school. This is a part of my plan of care at times related to how hard, how high, or intentional the incident was. I love having this to help protect all kinds. It helps me assess risk on the playground.
  • We have migrated all cameras to digital IP devices, with video analytics.
  • I believe cameras are very helpful in maintaining order and monitoring students in the hallways and getting on/off buses.
  • We are a very small school district (about 300 students). Because the staff throughout the entire building knows the students so well, we have very, very little crime to investigate. We mostly use the surveillance to identify people coming and going into the building.
  • Since our facility has so many cameras, the majority of the time our cameras are used after the fact. Many times, our video is provided to law enforcement for criminal investigation.
  • We are currently in the process of installing tag readers at all entrances and exits. These will allow us to monitor who is on Campus and when.
  • We use our camera system to be able to report things when necessary. It is an added security feature for our campus. In some cases, it does not prevent crime.

VIEW THE SURVEY RESULTS & CHARTS

Challenges

  • We are in the process of added LPR technology to our network of cameras to enhance the identification of vehicles and suspects. We have a network of over 400 cameras (fixed and PTZ) but often were not able to identify suspects because license plates are typically not legible with the regular cameras. Adding LPR technology at our campus entrance points will add the ability to identify suspects, rather than just having images of the vehicle(s) involved.

    To view the full results and charts from the 2022 Campus Safety Video Surveillance Survey, click here.

  • We have multiple cameras across the district with many angles, but not enough. Our school can’t keep up with replacing old cameras and adding new ones where they are needed due to cost. I pull video footage when crimes have occurred, but do not have any say in the system used or purchase of new equipment.
  • We desire to upgrade our camera systems and integrate them with other security systems.
  • Slow upgrade of legacy, analog cameras.
  • We need more cameras. School is under construction.
  • Security does not have access to cameras.
  • Need better technology and better access off site.
  • I wish they were more affordable.
  • We have cameras but in need of more due to a lot of spots not monitored. Our cameras also only record with motion and miss a lot of incidents because the motion only picks up a short distance.
  • Our current cameras don’t work very well. It is difficult to identify people and when you search historical footage it jumps around or doesn’t work.
  • Our coverage is spotty and inconsistent.
  • We have cameras that do not work in areas and when we are patrolling areas which might be vandalized, cameras need to be clear and precise. All the cameras need to be working in all the schools.
  • Need better updated camera with zoom. Need more cameras on campuses, too many blind spots.
  • Cameras are set up by IT. No Law Enforcement input. University does not fund for public safety.
  • We really need to have security cameras as our property is across the street from a known drug house. This would give us the capability to protect our property and assist local law enforcement.
  • Our security cameras that are operational are not for direct campus support. They are outside contractor/research operations so our active video surveillance was allowed to fail and has not been replaced. Administrative breakdown contributed to the situation.

VIEW THE SURVEY RESULTS & CHARTS

Advice

  • When considering a video surveillance system, you should take an Enterprise Physical Protection system approach that also considers how the video system will integrate with your access control, visitor management and emergency management strategy.
  • School districts underutilize or don’t see the value of security systems. They are educators and think like one. They need to hire true safety experts to be in charge of school safety
  • Camera systems must be continually monitored and inspected frequently. Upgrade and servicing your systems must be made as needed to keep your surveillance system working at an optimum level.
  • Love our edge storage cameras. No NVR. Main challenge has been keeping clean, and some PoE power issues (electrical surge).
  • We are a small school. The two pieces of advice I’d give is to use software that works with both the door system and cameras. Second, have a policy that states the school is not responsible for lost items or items that may be stolen. In the past we’ve spent a huge amount of time reviewing video footage in search of someone’s earbuds, coats, shoes, or items that may have or may not have been stolen from a locker.
  • Please make sure that your cameras are 4K quality and they have a pan and tilt option with zoom capabilities
  • Video surveillance works when you have enough people.
  • They are a great benefit but do need to be thought out for locations and resources used on the infrastructure and hardware behind the scenes.
  • We have managers who want to use cameras to watch staff – we feel this is not appropriate – if there is a specific issue and it involves staff, we run it past legal and HR first Attempting to get money allocated to expand more surveillance into parking areas,
  • There should be a policy of video use to designate its purpose, locations and use. There should be a policy regarding video recording, time to keep recordings and reasons to release video.
  • It has been noticed that perpetrators of crimes of late take away the digital recorder along with items they have stolen in order to erase the evidence. It is always prudent to have these backups done remotely from another node or client-server in another location altogether to ensure the footage of the crime is recorded.
  • We are also asked to assist with fall detection or post fall investigations of patients within our walls. this helps the clinical staff assess whether a patient needs to go for x-ray or a CAT scan in the event that they had hit their heads or fallen hard. In Dementia or PESU wings this is used a lot with high-risk patients.
  • We have to balance student resident privacy with security measures on campus.
  • Upgrade to include access control interface for forced entries and/or propped doors.

VIEW THE SURVEY RESULTS & CHARTS


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About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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