Schools Invest in Cameras and Security to Boost Building Safety
When Keith Price became technology director of Alabama’s Vestavia Hills City Schools in 2019, one of the first tasks he tackled was replacing the district’s aging video management system.
The old system was an “antiquated version that didn’t take advantage of modern technology,” Price says.
Now, the district uses an open platform solution from Milestone Systems, which offers more flexibility. The upgrades also include BCDVideo servers and Milestone software.
“We weren’t pinning ourselves to one camera vendor. It really opened us up to have some freedom in the future in adding disparate systems,” Price says. “We also did not have to replace all the cameras in the field, which was a huge cost savings for us.”
Over the years, K–12 security spending has increased as part of fundamental safety efforts as well as in response to violent incidents on school campuses. Even when campuses are empty — on weekends, over seasonal breaks or during social distancing — buildings are targeted for break-ins and vandalism. The growth in spending is expected to continue for the $2.7 billion school security industry through at least 2021, Marketplace reports.
In addition to video surveillance cameras, IP cameras, video analytics and related Internet of Things devices can also help school districts manage physical security risks. Another reason for the trend: With falling security camera prices and expanding tools for video surveillance and other physical security needs, K–12 administrators have more options for keeping school buildings — and everyone in them — safe.
The growing emphasis on video feed-based technology, Price says, marks a change in the way districts once approached people gaining access to school grounds.
“Cameras weren’t as big of a deal in terms of recording what was happening on campus,” he says. “How we handle physical security and cataloging what’s going on in schools has changed dramatically in the past 10 years — and will probably continue to do so, based on what we’re seeing.”