Campus Security Pros Offer Comments and Concerns About Video Surveillance

Here’s some comments and advice provided by Campus Safety magazine’s video surveillance survey participants.

The vast majority of comments were positive from the more than 900 school, university and hospital protection pros who took the 2016 Campus Safety Video Surveillance Survey, as we covered last week. However, there were also some interesting concerns that were expressed involving funding, top brass buy-in, IT issues and more. Some participants also offered helpful advice on what to acquire and what to avoid when selecting a new or upgraded security camera system.

Helpful Hints on Equipment Selection

  • “If equipment is added/replaced, make sure it is “fully” compatible with the existing system/technology and what is the warranty (if any) ….is there a fund source to support the system upgrades, maintenance/replacement, etc. Is there trained and informed staff to adequately manage the system and provide in-house support…repairs/troubleshooting, etc.”
  • “It’s very important to be familiar with what is available on the market; there are many different types of cameras for different applications on your campuses. Develop a comprehensive RFP, get recommendations from colleagues in your area, involve IT in the process as there are costs associated with networking and providing sufficient memory to maintain images. Develop a campus policy regarding use of surveillance technology to clarify how the technology will be used, who is permitted to monitor/view images and how long they will be maintained, etc. Figure in costs for image storage, annual licensing and maintenance and replacement when developing your budget. Check vendor references for product quality and service. Have vendors provide a demonstration of their products and a scope of work document before you buy. Just as highest cost is not always highest quality neither is lowest cost the lowest quality.”
  • “When streaming video across the wide area network having on-camera storage is a must.”

RELATED: Don’t Let Your IP Cameras Get Hacked

Buy-In and Support Issues

  • “A large majority of [our] video surveillance cameras are for outside areas. Except for extremely sensitive indoor areas, there is a great deal of resistance on campus to place cameras indoors, especially public areas within the dorms.”
  • “Facilities manager insists on quantity of video and not quality, therefore we are often unable to capture vehicle make and model and can never capture license plates. Video quality is so poor we quite often cannot make out persons.”
  • “Administration does not see a positive cost-to-benefit ratio that will support adding more cameras.”

Multiple Campus Challenges

  • “Having multiple campuses on networks that connect to have one health and monitoring dashboard has been a huge challenge. Monitoring 160 sites to determine camera, server health is important as well as timeframe a camera should be down before it is critical.”

Funding Hurdles

  • “In truth, money is the biggest factor holding up my request for more cameras.”
  • “We are a small and rural school district. Funding for a new security camera system would need to come via help from a grant or other means outside the district funding. We could easily be a showcase school regarding the successful use of security cameras because we have a skilled user.”
  • “I am assigned to a middle school and like everyone, I would like to have more cameras picking up some of the blind spots. The high schools have many more cameras but they also have more buildings and area to cover.”

Problems with IT

  • “IT issues result from requested bandwidth needs for CCTV.”
  • “Our district servers never seem to be up and working enough to support our cameras, and the IT department is unable to do ANYTHING to fix that.”

Other Challenges

  • “Do not have adequate office space for monitors and staff to work with CCTV.”
  • “Need for training on how to monitor, analyze and report.”

Now check out all of the results from the 2016 Campus Safety Video Surveillance Survey!

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Campus Safety magazine is another great resource for public safety, security and emergency management professionals. It covers all aspects of campus safety, including access control, video surveillance, mass notification and security staff practices. Whether you work in K-12, higher ed, a hospital or corporation, Campus Safety magazine is here to help you do your job better!

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