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School hours and after-hours: the role of timing in school security

School hours and after-hours: the role of timing in school security
The safety and security of a school environment are fundamental to its core mission – facilitating learning and development for its students.
The safety and security of a school environment are fundamental to its core mission – facilitating learning and development for its students. However, maintaining a secure environment is a complex task that requires a deep understanding of the various risks that schools face, the strategies to mitigate these risks, and how these factors change over time. Timing is indeed an integral aspect of school security.
In a recent webinar, Tom Kelley, Regional Sales Manager at Axis Communications, and Anthony Seiler, K12 Industry Director at Johnson Controls, pointed out that timing is a key element that plays an integral role in deciding the security measures in school.
“By grouping the area of interest into the time of day, you can coordinate your security profile levels and schedule reaction events that can be triggered during the course of the day,” Kelley said. “You should have the ability to change how a proactive system works during the course of the day, as the expectation of activity at the school and entrance will change dramatically between the morning in the afternoon.”
In this article, we delve into key points regarding timing that was covered in the insightful webinar. We explore various aspects related to timing and its significance.

Risks and security measures during school hours

During work hours, schools often face certain types of security risks that need to be adequately addressed to ensure the safety of both students and staff. These risks range from acts of vandalism and aggression to loitering and vaping, each posing unique challenges to the school environment.
One of the solutions that can be employed is a loitering detection analytic. This sophisticated tool can be built into the surveillance camera system to monitor for any unusual or suspicious behavior, helping to deter and detect instances of loitering within the school premises.
Another measure is aggression detection analytics, which can be linked to a microphone installed at the camera. This tool is designed to detect auditory signs of aggression or conflict, which may not be immediately visible to security personnel or school staff. It provides an added layer of security, alerting school officials to potential problems before they escalate.
Public duress alarms also form an integral part of the school security apparatus during the school day. These alarms can be manually triggered by buttons or automatically activated through a sensor, such as an audio gunshot detection analytic from a microphone. These countermeasures provide an immediate response to serious security threats, enhancing the overall safety of the school environment.
These measures, coupled with a vigilant school community, can significantly mitigate the security risks that schools face during the day. However, the security dynamics change after school hours, requiring a different set of strategies to address the risks that arise during this time.

Challenges and security solutions after school hours

Security management becomes more complex in the hours following the typical school day. The student-to-faculty ratio often becomes skewed, with fewer faculty members available to oversee a potentially larger group of individuals, especially during extracurricular activities, sports events, or community gatherings.
The after-hours scenario also presents unique challenges with non-students entering the school for various activities. This can amplify existing security risks, such as vandalism or loitering, and introduce new ones, such as unauthorized access to restricted areas.
To maintain the security of the school grounds, schools often use solutions such as wide-area coverage for situational awareness, duress alarms for emergencies (both indoors and outdoors), and public address systems for event broadcasting. A reliable security system should not only act as a deterrent but also be capable of detecting security breaches and triggering the necessary responses.
Schools can leverage the same technology used during the school day for operational activities after hours. For instance, surveillance cameras can be used not only for security purposes but also to broadcast events taking place within the school premises. Furthermore, schools can integrate systems such as gunshot detection analytics and duress alarms into their after-hours security apparatus to ensure swift responses to any emergencies.
Crucially, an effective after-hours security system should be built on a robust foundation of physical security countermeasures, including cameras for deterrence and detection and other tools designed to strengthen the total cost of ownership and return on investment. The price of a camera or an alarm system is only the tip of the iceberg; the real value comes from the system’s effectiveness in maintaining a safe, secure environment for everyone involved. Thus, school security solutions should be evaluated based on their design, deployment, operation, and maintenance costs to ensure they offer a high return on investment and lasting peace of mind.

The future of school security - artificial intelligence and deep learning

The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning into school security is a game-changer, representing a significant evolution from traditional security measures. These advanced technologies enable a more proactive approach to identifying and mitigating risks in real-time rather than a reactive one that occurs post-incident.
With AI and deep learning, analytics capabilities have significantly improved. Instead of relying solely on basic motion detection, schools can now use analytics to accurately determine what type of object or person is creating motion. This allows for more detailed, reliable alerts and potentially faster responses to security incidents.
Beyond just security, the intelligence offered by these technologies also enhances the operational effectiveness of schools. From managing door access to counting people for occupancy management, AI and deep learning bring about a multitude of functionalities that streamline various processes.
For instance, using AI, schools can automatically control access to buildings, lock doors at specific times, generate automated audio announcements, monitor line lengths in cafeterias, and alert when occupancy levels reach a certain threshold. These are just a few examples of how AI can optimize school operations, making them more efficient and safer.
The inclusion of AI and deep learning in cameras and security systems further empowers school security. With these technologies embedded at the device level, schools can leverage distributed intelligence to gather actionable data. For example, AI-driven analytics can identify patterns, trends, and anomalies, providing school security personnel with the insights needed to preempt potential security issues and address them proactively.
As we look toward the future of school security, it's evident that AI and deep learning will play a crucial role. The more familiar school administrators become with these technologies, the better equipped they will be to implement these advanced tools to enhance their security measures and ensure a safer learning environment for all.
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