Every day, in the United States, school campuses face a barrage of safety and security threats, including bullying, hate speech, fights, drug use, and more. From 2009-2019, the problem of violence and crime on campuses reduced slightly, so that 7 percent of students reported being called hate-related words at school, 22 percent reported being bullied, and 71 percent of public schools recorded one or more violent incidents, according to the most recent School Survey on Crime and Safety. In the years since the outbreak of COVID-19, however, many mental health experts have reported an increase in instances of bullying and violent crime, many instances of which occur in school common areas.
“Children, adolescents, and adults of all ages have shared that they are experiencing a higher frequency and severity of bullying in disparate settings including online, school, work, and even home,” said psychiatrist Leela R. Magavi, MD.
How School Common Area Security Systems Help Protect Students and Staff
Industry-leading school campus security systems—which utilize a combination of video and audio surveillance to ensure on-site security personnel the best possible situational awareness—address this issue by collecting both visual and auditory information for both real-time incident response and post-incident review. These devices equip security personnel with as much information as possible and are typically installed all throughout a school’s campus, with several concentrated in school common areas such as hallways, cafeterias, classrooms, and entrances. Though it is still important to secure peripheral areas, such as parking lots and office spaces—high traffic common areas in schools commonly experience three safety and security risks:
- Large Areas That Are Difficult to Surveil
Most security solutions installed on school campuses utilize video surveillance-only systems, which can make large, open areas like outdoor common areas or indoor cafeterias difficult to surveil. As it is unrealistic to install enough cameras to cover every possible blind spot, audio monitoring devices outfitted with audio analytics, which can detect everything from raised voices to gunshots, typically fill in the gaps, in order to guarantee security personnel capture the full picture.
- High Concentration of Individuals
Especially for common spaces that experience the most foot traffic, including hallways and entrances, this combination of video and audio surveillance is critical for total coverage. It often only takes seconds for a fight to break out or for an instance of bullying to occur. In both scenarios, video and audio surveillance provide critical evidence for post-incident review, clarifying both what happened, as well as who said what to whom.
- High Decibel Noise from Multiple Directions
The most complicated part of securing large common areas using audio monitoring devices, as well, involves distinguishing individual words or phrases from a crowd of voices. Today’s top-tier, AI-enhanced audio analytics technology picks up low and-high frequency audibles and is capable of running an analytical application, which detects and processes sounds of a threat.