Stoughton School Vandals BEWARE!

A Wisconsin school district’s new security camera system reduces incidents of intentional property damage and monitors unauthorized visitors.

It is estimated by the U.S. Department of Justice that vandalism costs schools, homeowners, businesses and others more than $15 billion a year. It’s a staggering amount of money, and communities across the country are looking for ways to curb incidents of random, yet costly, destruction. Schools in particular are hard hit and many are fighting back with technology, including video surveillance, access control and visitor management systems.

One such school district that has implemented an IP-based video surveillance system is the south-central Wisconsin-based Stoughton Area School District. It recently installed a 64-camera system with an advanced multi-site network video recorder and camera management system from On-Net Surveillance Systems Inc. (OnSSI).

“The District’s security and safety plan was developed by the facility committee and our initial objective was to monitor visitors to the schools,” says Dennis Barkenhagen, director, buildings and grounds, Stoughton Area School District. “We did this by implementing a video surveillance system to help deter any kind of incidents that might occur on school property outside of regular school hours, or even possibly during the school day. At the same time, we implemented a visitor management system incorporating access and badging, so we can track visitors and generate an audit trail of guests in the schools.”

System Installed to Thwart Vandalism
Incidents of vandalism and reports of a sexual predator in the community prompted the facility committee to move up the timetable on implementing a video surveillance system. These issues and concerns were primary when Barkenhagen did a preliminary walk-through to determine key areas for camera placements, and again when he did a second walk-through with the system integrator, Boldtronics Inc. of Madison Wis., which deployed all the systems equipment.

The decision to go with an IP-based video surveillance system was an easy choice for the school district, but selecting a network video recorder (NVR) and camera management system took a little more due diligence on the part of Barkenhagen. “We looked at several manufacturers’ products, attended trade shows and researched solutions online, but ultimately went with the OnSSI. Net DVMS product because of its user friendliness, its capability for expansion and the ease with which supplemental cameras can be added.”

The six district schools are linked to the administration building using a fiber backbone in a spoke and hub configuration. This fiber backbone is then partitioned for video use. Images from all cameras are now transmitted to the Net DVMS software, which resides on the server located in the administration building. All video is recorded and archived centrally at the administration building, although each school is set up so that the principal can view images from his/her school.

The majority of the cameras are located outside, with a camera inside each building at the main entrance. Given the severe Wisconsin winter weather, the outdoor cameras are installed in weatherproof housings with heaters and blowers, powered separately by power supplies located inside the buildings.

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