Wren Survey Reveals Northeast K-12 Schools Have High Confidence in Their Ability to Deal with Security Threats

Wren, a provider of enterprise-class video surveillance solutions since 1983, announced the results of the Northeast School Security Survey, the fourth in its School Security Research Series. The survey polled administrators and school resource officers in K-12 schools in nine northeast states on issues from emergency preparedness to their ability to combat campus threats.


When compared to the results of the company's prior regional surveys, particularly in the Midwest and Texas, the Northeast School Security Survey revealed schools in this region have greater confidence in their ability to deal with security threats. Of schools responding, 69 percent reported currently using video, with 79 percent of those schools using video to monitor entrances and exits to support access control. Another 59 percent of schools with video reported using it to prevent student misconduct by letting students know they are being monitored. This proactive use of video technology is a likely factor in their increased confidence and ability to deal with security breaches.


The survey revealed the following:
Video is a critical tool in securing schools in the Northeast — Eighty percent of respondents indicated that if they could select just one tool to help improve security on campus, they would invest in video surveillance over intrusion alarms, metal detectors and identity badges.


Northeast schools feel more prepared than others to deal with security threats — Whereas only 15 percent of respondents from the Midwest felt extremely confident in their ability to deal with security threats, 26 percent of respondents in the Northeast felt extremely confident in their ability to deal with a student abduction; 31 percent felt they were extremely prepared to deal with an armed intruder on campus; and 61 percent felt extremely prepared to deal with a student physically attacking a teacher.


Northeast schools face critical security concerns - Schools in the Northeast are dealing with more security threats than their counterparts in the Midwest and Texas. Nineteen percent of respondents in the Northeast reported experiencing gang activity in the last 12 months, compared with only 1 percent in the Midwest and 4 percent in Texas. Eight percent reported cult or extremist activities, which were not reported in either the Midwest or Texas surveys. The Northeast respondents also reported higher rates of violence, theft and student bullying.


Critical areas of concern — The security concerns reported as most critical by respondents were unauthorized people entering the school (49 percent); compliance with fire and security regulations (40 percent); and student bullying (51 percent).


Budgets are tight, but pressure is high — When asked how they would fund equipment purchases, 35 percent of respondents indicated that no funds are available.


"The disparity between the Northeast survey and the Midwest and Texas surveys may be due to the fact that schools in the population-dense Northeast are dealing with a greater variety and type of security breaches on a regular basis and therefore they are better prepared," said Andrew Wren, President of Wren. "The survey also found that Northeast schools are using video more frequently and strategically, which is likely a contributing factor to their higher level of confidence to deal with security threats."


Since 2007, Wren has conducted regional surveys in the Midwest and Texas — among other areas — to learn how educators are securing their schools, the tools they are using and their motivations and challenges around school security. As part of the company's interest in researching all areas of the country, Wren conducted this survey in the Northeast due to the area's population density and the unique challenges of securing urban schools.


The Northeast School Security Survey was conducted in February 2009 and represents responses from 109 school resource officers, principals and superintendents in the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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