Survey: Campuses Struggling to Manage Their Guests

University, school and hospital protection professionals want technologies that will help them better manage visitors and reach them during emergencies.

The results of Campus Safety magazine’s latest security technology survey are in, and visitors appear to be causing campus public safety systems the most trouble. Lack of a visitor management system was the most common physical access control challenge mentioned by respondents. A whopping 33% rated their systems as either somewhat unacceptable (22%) or completely unacceptable (11%).  Reaching visitors during an emergency was most often mentioned by survey takers as a top emergency notification challenge.

Another area of note was the tracking and management of keys: Nearly a third (32%) indicated this was one of their top access control challenges. Video surveillance integration with other public safety systems, such as access control, intrusion and fire, was also listed by respondents as an issue. Thirty-nine percent said it was one of their top video surveillance challenges.

Despite their concerns, many campus protection professionals say they are quite pleased with the public safety technology deployed by their institutions. A significant majority had a high or relatively high rate of confidence in their systems.

Here are the results broken down by technology type.

Access Control

Overall, 50% of survey respondents rated their campus physical access control technology as good (37%) or excellent (13%). About a third (30%) rated it as OK, while 11% rated it as somewhat unacceptable and 5% rated it as completely unacceptable.

Hospitals expressed the greatest confidence in their access control technology, with more than two-thirds (64%) rating it as good or excellent. On the other hand, only 45% of universities and 49% of K-12 schools rated their access control technology as good or excellent. Only 7% of all respondents said they have no problems with their access control systems.

More than 56% of hospital respondents indicated that lack of a visitor management system is one of their top five access control challenges. When the data is broken down further, more than two-thirds of the respondents from healthcare facilities with less than 200 beds or more than 600 beds marked this as an issue for them.

More than two in five university survey takers (41%) and 22% of K-12 respondents indicated visitor management as one of their top five access control challenges.

Respondents from K-12 schools and districts struggle the most with tracking keys, with 37% indicating this is one of their top five challenges with access control. Just under a third of universities (31%) and hospitals (33%) cited this as a significant issue.

Related Article: Your Physical Access Control Cheat Sheet

Not quite a third of respondents indicated the lack of integration between access control and other public safety systems, such as video surveillance, intrusion and fire, was one of their top access control concerns. This problem is more prevalent with institutions of higher education that have more than 50,000 students, as well as schools, universities and hospitals with 3,000-5,000 students. More than two in five (43% and 42% respectively) are having trouble with systems integration.

Support from top administrators and executives continues to be a challenge for all three sectors, but it is particularly challenging for schools, universities and hospitals that have 15,000-30,000 students. More than half (52%) of respondents from institutions with student populations of 15,000-20,000 say this is an issue for them, while 35% of campuses with 20,000-30,000 students are struggling to get buy-in from management.

Support from students, faculty and staff is primarily a challenge with K-12 respondents (33%) and university respondents (31%). Only 16% of hospital respondents indicated this was an issue.

Access control policies aren’t as big of a challenge for hospitals as their higher ed and school brethren. Just 17% of hospital respondents say this is one of their top five concerns, while 27% of universities and schools said the policies supporting their access control system(s) either don’t exist or the ones they have need to be updated.

Video Surveillance

More than half (52%) of all survey respondents rated the quality of their campus’ video surveillance technology as good (36%) or excellent (16%), however, hospital survey takers were by far the individuals most satisfied with their camera systems. Nearly two-thirds (64%) rated them as good or excellent. Only 47% of schools and universities were as complimentary about the video surveillance technology deployed at their institutions. One in five university respondents (20%) rated it as somewhat or completely unacceptable. Ten percent of all respondents said they have no problems with this technology.

Of the institutions that indicated they had challenges, older systems appear to be causing the most trouble. Four of the concerns most often mentioned by respondents are related directly to technology obsolescence.

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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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