How Security Can Pay for Itself

At Channel Islands High School, improved access control and the incorporation of CPTED led directly to a safer environment, which discouraged student absenteeism and the costs associated with crime.

With just these two countermeasures in place, all areas of campus crime reported to the Oxnard Police Department dropped by at least two thirds. An environment of fear was transformed into a relaxed learning atmosphere.

Something else happened; students and staff became involved in new projects to improve the campus. School pride appears to generate positive momentum and hope in the same way that vandalism generates entropy, decay and hopelessness.

This project remains ongoing with new security initiatives taking place, including bully-proofing and the expansion of the school’s electronic security system.

Upgrades Reduce Costs, Improve Safety
Here is a partial listing of the actual and potential savings that were realized by this project:

      1. Campus violence and fear of violence decreased dramatically


      2. Reduction of fear reduced student attendance problems, which affected school income


      3. Reduction of fear directly improved the learning environment


      4. Maintenance costs dropped dramatically


      5. Environmental changes reduced staff absenteeism and turnover, improving the learning environment


      6. The student population can now be effectively supervised with fewer personnel


      7. An increase in campus pride encouraged students and staff to be more proactive in its protection


      8. Savings were produced from each prevented act of violence


      9. Security component cost savings were realized from effective planning


      10. Increased parent confidence led to a decrease in the student transfer rate to private schools, which also affected school income


    11. Improved environment increased parent participation

Studies on school security are generally limited to crime prevention, and the evidence supporting these positive outcomes is largely anecdotal. That said, for CIHS and several other schools in the district, these changes have already paid off the investment.

James L. Grayson, CPP, is a senior security consultant for Hughes Associates Inc. He will be a keynote speaker at the Campus Safety Conference, March 30-31 ( He can be reached at

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About the Author


Jim Grayson is a senior security consultant. His career spans more than 35 years in law enforcement and security consulting. He worked for UCLA on a workplace violence study involving hospitals, schools and small retail environments and consulted with NIOSH on a retail violence prevention study.Grayson’s diverse project experience includes schools, universities, hospitals, municipal buildings, high-rise structures and downtown revitalization projects. He holds a degree in criminal justice and a CPP security management credential from ASIS. He is a nationally recognized speaker and trainer on a wide range of security topics.He can be reached at Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.

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