Lynwood USD Security Installations Lead to 70% Drop in Crime

New security systems were installed at Lynwood, California public schools after the district decided to remove its school resource officers.

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For years now, school districts have debated if school resource officers (SROs) make K-12 campuses safer or more dangerous, with some making the difficult decision to remove their police officers. The Lynwood (California) Unified School District (USD) was one such district, doing away with its SRO program before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Doing so meant Lynwood USD needed to figure out other ways to protect its schools, but its new approach to safety and security sans SROs appears to be paying off. Crime on the city’s public school campuses has decreased by 70%

The first step was to create a safety taskforce that was comprised of school board members, principals, parents, directors of student services, IT, other community members, city officials, and local law enforcement. (Next year, the task force will expand to include students.)

“In this committee, we’re addressing the incidents that we see in or around the school sites,” Lynwood USD Chief of Security Paul Garcia said. “We discuss the incidents and then bring to the table what we think will be beneficial for the whole district.”

This process resulted in Lynwood USD identifying several technologies and programs that officials hoped would proactively address its school safety and security challenges without the involvement of SROs. An intercom access control system, anonymous reporting system, weapons detection that uses artificial intelligence, student internet monitoring, and visitor management were all installed. Garcia and his team also implemented active shooter training at all sites, collaborated with the city of Lynwood to implement Safe School Zones, and more.

The result of these improvements was a massive decline in incidents at Lynwood USD.

These and many other reasons are why Garcia has been named one of this year’s K-12 Campus Safety Director of the Year finalists.

Below are the topics and interview time stamps so you can watch/listen to the specific details of Garcia’s achievements and lessons learned:

  • Why Lynwood USD needed a new intercom access control system, anonymous reporting system, weapons detection technology, student internet monitoring system, and visitor management system and the problems these technologies addressed. 1:58
  • How Garcia was able to convince other district stakeholders (the school board, community, etc.) that these upgrades were needed. 5:45
  • How Garcia’s department and district paid for the upgrades. 7:48
  • The results of Lynwood USD’s implementation/installation of these systems. 8:49
  • Advice Garcia gives to other districts looking to upgrade their security and safety. 10:21

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Watch the full interview here or listen on the go on Apple or Spotify.

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About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

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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