Comments from 2023 Campus Safety Video Surveillance Survey Participants

Campus protection pros who took part in this year’s Video Surveillance Survey talk about the successes and challenges with their systems.

Comments from 2023 Campus Safety Video Surveillance Survey Participants

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The 2023 Campus Safety Video Surveillance Survey asked respondents to describe the successes and challenges they’ve experienced with their video surveillance/security camera systems, as well as tips they would give to other school, university, and healthcare protection professionals on this technology. Here’s what some of them said:

Security Camera Successes:

  • “Almost 15 years, 300 cameras, rarely does the system not give the requester the footage needed. I would say it has been a success.”
  • “Great success moving from one platform to another. Old system had lots of great features, nobody was using it or it was not configured for best use. Access was not tied to cameras. They are now tied together.”
  • “We have had good success with following the movements of criminals and eventually getting them.”
  • “Successfully recruited buy-in from cabinet level leaders and have systematically grown the VMS system on campus for last eight years.”
  • “Our current system has been very instrumental in helping our investigators solve crimes.”
  • “LPR identified a person wanted in connection with a murder.”
  • “Video has resulted in the identification of several individuals involved in incidents on campus.”
  • “We solve cases daily with our camera systems… many felony cases. It is worth the money to have a good camera system.”
  • “We just installed our current system this past summer. Its ease of use and access is far beyond what we had before. The company really listened to what I wanted and where to place the cameras.”
  • “In response to an incident, we were able to expand our cameras on campus with wide support from our campus community.”
  • “Regularly help Police with investigative leads that would not otherwise have been available. Commonly assist Fire/EMS with better-informed responses. Critical to event management.”
  • “System has helped recover stolen property.”
  • “We have assisted the local police department on some of their cases using our cameras. We clear about 90% of our cases on campus with cameras.”
  • “We use our cameras on a daily basis to capture evidence, monitor staff/student performance during drills, confirm or dispel rumors and/or information circulating throughout the school and parents, etc.”
  • “Video surveillance analytics catch trespassers more effectively than intrusion alarms.”
  • “We have great success using our surveillance system during school hours and night hours with weekdays. We deter trespassing at night as well as patrol our campuses. Our daytime surveillance works with campus security providing real time incident information.”
  • “We routinely use our LPRs to warn us when banned persons try to enter campus.”
  • “As part of Lauras Law in Mass Rollout, deployed new emergency call boxes with video. Within 12 hours of going online, at 2 a.m., a patient was in a remote parking lot having chest pain and not familiar where to go. Call box and video was instrumental in not only notifying the medical response team, it also gave security the ability to stay on the line and monitor him real time until appropriate assistance arrived.”
  • “Since our school implemented cameras, several things have improved greatly: Night vision, frame rate, resolution, server storage size (length of archived footage).”

Download the Survey Charts

 Video Surveillance System Challenges:

  • “Obtaining funds requires a process that deters and even prevents schools from obtaining grants and financial assistance.”
  • “The challenge is identifying the locations, systems available, support and purchase of systems. With our changing environment it will be necessary to be able to integrate with our DoD and technology partners to support their security needs, as well as the remainder of the campus.”
  • “Not having the budget to fully upgrade the system.”
  • “Our biggest setbacks to our video systems is just customer service and maintenance.”
  • “Surveying the parking areas is a challenge we hope to have in the next two years. We also have a building off campus that needs an upgrade with our camera system, as the time indicators are inconsistent from one camera to the next (i.e. – when a student moves from the entrance into a classroom, [it] takes an hour, as one camera has adjusted to time changes and another hasn’t).”
  • “We use our resources in a reactive manner. I would like to move to a more proactive environment. The major reluctance is having staff to support such a move.”
  • “One of our biggest restrictions has been that our IT partners are spread thin between building network for us and other university projects.”
  • “Upgrading and integrating older systems into new ones is always challenging, especially with construction and infrastructure impacts.”
  • “Challenges exist when maneuvering student rights vs. victim rights.”
  • “Funding is the number one roadblock to getting and maintaining and up to date, comprehensive system.”
  • “Policy guidance, particularly with systems that capture audio would be helpful. We are working on drafting policy, and it has been challenging with little to no existing guidance.”
  • “Our biggest problem is that we do not have the staffing to maintain the system as we should.”
  • “My principal is very supportive, but funding is extremely limited. Cameras are a good tool, but without active monitoring by staff they are rarely preventive and mostly reactive for response to events that have occurred.”
  • “The current system is piggybacked off an existing research system. Little to no say in location, operation and use of the system.”

Tips, Lessons Learned, and Advice

  • “Server space becomes a major issue when updating cameras. All new tech and analytics add to the space required for storage. Lesson learned was for every set number of cameras we must budget for additional storage. Further, I do not feel confident in cloud storage as an option, but often wonder about the possibilities.”
  • “Make sure police and grounds work together. Trees and plants can grow and block your cameras. Make sure police patrol can be in the meetings [when determining] camera placement because they know the high crime and threat areas.”
  • “A review of FERPA has to be addressed so police officers serving as SROs can access the CCTV system.”
  • “We make sure the community is aware of the cameras with the caveat that they may not see all of them. This has given a sense of security to the community.”

Download the Survey Charts

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About the Author

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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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