2020 Video Surveillance Survey: Cameras Continue to Be a Valuable Tool for Campus Protection Pros

Schools, colleges and hospitals use their security cameras for everything from entrance/exit monitoring and visitor verification to market research and more. Here’s the latest data on campus video surveillance usage, maintenance and buying trends.

2020 Video Surveillance Survey: Cameras Continue to Be a Valuable Tool for Campus Protection Pros

Education and healthcare campuses continue to be big users of security camera systems. That’s according to this year’s Campus Safety Video Surveillance Survey. More than nine in 10 (94%) respondents say they have video surveillance solutions installed on their campuses.

More than seven in ten have one video surveillance system, and of those, 27% want to expand or replace their current system, with healthcare and higher ed respondents expressing the most interest in acquiring a new solution.

View the Charts.

More than one in five respondents (22%) have multiple security camera systems with nearly half of them (47%) saying they want to expand or replace their current solutions. Of those respondents, colleges and universities are the most likely to want to get a new system.

Additionally, nearly a third of all respondents (31%) say they are currently using cloud technology to deliver video surveillance management to remotely monitor their security cameras, with K-12 respondents being the most likely to already be using this technology.

Most Campuses Use Video Systems Daily

The reason for the wide adoption of security cameras at schools, institutions of higher education and healthcare is pretty obvious: campuses use them a lot. Overall, more than eight in 10 (82%) survey respondents say they use their video surveillance systems daily, with more than nine in 10 hospitals using them daily.

More than half (57%) say their security cameras frequently provide evidence for investigations, with another 33% saying video surveillance systems sometimes provide evidence. Drilling down further, hospital respondents say their security cameras frequently (75%) or sometimes (25%) provide evidence in investigations.

Eighty-four percent of respondents frequently (55%) or sometimes (29%) use their security cameras to help them monitor the campus during other situations where safety or security issues could arise, such as weather emergencies, athletic events, concerts, protests and more. With healthcare respondents, that percentage increases to 97% (77% frequently and 20% sometimes).

Nearly one in three respondents (31%) say their video surveillance systems frequently prevent crime. Another 47% say their cameras sometimes prevent crime.

About three in four respondents (73%) say their security cameras frequently (35%) or sometimes (38%) act as force multipliers.

Cameras Monitor a Wide Range of Locations

“Monitoring entrances and exits” is the most common task for security cameras, with nine out of 10 respondents from all three sectors saying their video surveillance systems monitor these locations. Perimeters (83%), parking facilities (75%) and remote areas (66%) are also popular locations for video monitoring. (Click here to see how campuses use their security cameras.)

There are some significant variations among the types of campuses and their camera applications. More than nine in ten hospitals monitor their remote areas with security cameras, but only 66% of institutions of higher education and 56% of schools or school districts monitor these locations. Seven in 10 hospital respondents say their campus video surveillance systems monitor off-campus areas, while only 30% of university respondents and 7% of K-12 respondents’ systems do so.

When it comes to using security cameras to see if students, patients, visitors and staff members are wearing facial coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, only 12% of K-12 respondents are doing so, while 20% of higher ed and 23% of healthcare respondents are using their video surveillance systems to monitor the wearing of masks.

The verification of visitor identity via cameras is most often done by schools and school districts (43%), while 36% of hospitals and 26% of institutions of higher education use their video surveillance systems to verify guests are authorized to be on campus.

Some of the areas monitored are very campus-type-specific. For example, there is a high rate of video monitoring of emergency room entrances/exits, patient waiting rooms and pharmacies by hospitals, but not by colleges or schools. Likewise, colleges and universities are much more likely to monitor residence halls with security cameras than K-12 campuses or hospitals because most schools and healthcare facilities don’t have student dorms.

Maintaining Video Surveillance Systems Is Critical

Although the maintenance of video surveillance systems isn’t nearly as exciting as the purchase of brand new solutions, maintaining cameras and its supporting equipment and software is critical so the solution will work when you need it. Nearly four in ten of this year’s survey respondents say they maintain their security camera systems on a regular basis — anywhere from monthly (20%) to every three months (6%) to every six months (5%) to every year (8%).

Just over four in ten respondents (43%) maintain their cameras and video surveillance systems when needed, and 10% don’t know how often their organization maintains their solutions.

Six in ten respondents (61%) say they replace their cameras/video surveillance systems when needed. Sixteen percent say they don’t know when they replace this equipment (when broken down by campus type, its 20% for K-12, 18% for higher education and 3% for hospitals).

Participants Value Image Clarity, System Reliability Most

When it comes to the features of a video surveillance system, “being able to identify a subject or see an incident clearly” and system reliability are the most important to this year’s survey participants. On a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being “not important” and 5 being “extremely important,” both have an overall importance rating of 4.6. This score is .2 less (or 4% less) than how the respondents rated those features in 2018 (the importance rating two years ago was 4.8).

The importance of “being able to identify subjects in all lighting conditions, including at night and during low-light conditions” is the same this year as in 2018: 4.4. Cost/affordability’s importance has increased from 4.1 two years ago to 4.2 this year, and the importance of cybersecurity has increased from 3.9 in 2018 to 4.0 today.

Campus Safety thanks the nearly 400 campus protection professionals who participated in this survey. We appreciate your input.

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About the Author

robin hattersley headshot

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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