Customized security for schools

school securityCriminals today are very sophisticated. They know to case a school ahead of time looking for propped-open doors, low roof access, dark or concealed areas. They also know how to circumvent conventional security systems by biding their time until the school closes, then entering through adjacent buildings, dry or concrete walls, roofs, and even HVAC systems. Increasingly, this is how criminals are entering their marks because they know how to evade the security contacts on the doors and windows.

In addition to the risk of theft or vandalism is the far more serious threat of school violence. Because remember, the criminal is not always the menacing, shadowy figure who only comes around after dark. He often comes right through the front door during school hours, or waits outside to make his move. In fact, many times, the criminal attends the school. Schools need to be prepared for every kind of danger and must always be thinking about ways to better protect their facilities and the people inside.

Regulate Access during School Hours

During school hours, unprotected schools are susceptible to danger because unauthorized individuals are often free to enter and roam unabated. Fortunately, there are many solutions available to address this problem. More and more schools are turning to access control or “keyless door entry” solutions. ID Badges, Key fobs, Access Cards, and other technologies can now be integrated with a school’s alarm systems, replacing the lock and key, and making it virtually impossible for unwanted visitors to freely enter the school. Many have turned to the benefits of “keyless door entry” to:

Don’t Forget the Cameras.

Strategically placed video surveillance cameras inside and outside the school effectively deter would-be criminals. For the undeterred, video provides critical information to school officials and security personnel.

The best way to safeguard against possible crime is to carefully monitor and regulate access to your school with video and access control solutions during business hours, and to protect it after-hours with a proven alarm system.

After Hours: Conventional Alarm vs. Impact-Activated Audio Alarm

Make no mistake, not all alarms are the same. There are conventional, motion-based alarms; and there are verified impact-activated audio alarms. The distinction is clear. Conventional security systems are motion-based, provide only partial coverage, and can be easily circumvented by criminals who have learned to test the placement and vulnerabilities of alarm sensors. If they trip a sensor, the alarm screams and the criminal runs away, knowing it can take the police up to an hour to respond. Next time, they know to try another point of entry.
Now consider that 98% of all alarms are false. Yes, you read that right – 98%. If you’re car started 2% of the time, how optimistic would you be that it would start each morning? Well, the police know that there is only a 2% chance that the alarm they are responding to is a real alarm. And odds are, by the time they do respond, the perpetrators are long gone because the sound of the alarm has warned them off. Because police responsibilities have expanded so dramatically since 9/11, good law enforcement dictates that they can not give high priority to an alarm with a 98% probability of being false.

But police give top priority to verified audio intrusion alarms because they are different. First of all, they are silent, so a criminal has no idea the alarm was even triggered. When a verified audio-based alarm is triggered, trained professionals at a Monitoring Station actually listen in to verify whether a break-in is in progress, or whether a false alarm has sounded. If it is a real break-in, the police are immediately dispatched. If the alarm is false, the system is reset without bothering you or the police.

Perimeter Security – Your First Line of Protection

As outlined above, selecting the right security solution is critical to protecting your facility. But let’s face it; you’d rather not ever have to test the system. The following is a list of crime prevention strategies designed to help make your building and grounds less attractive to criminals, and therefore less vulnerable to crime, theft and vandalism.
Around your building:
• Avoid blind spots provided by doorways, fences, support buildings and landscaping.
• Place mechanical or electrical devices, such as meters, transformers, etc., in lockable recessed vaults or within the building.
• Limit roof and upper-floor access. Items to consider: drainpipes, window frames, storage units, decorative ledges, dumpsters, vehicles and walkway covers.
• Keep trees at least 10 feet from buildings to prevent window and roof access.
• Trim trees to increase visibility, keeping lower limbs eight to nine feet above ground.
• Limit shrubs to low ground cover and group plants together. Hedging along walks helps to channel pedestrian traffic.
Fencing and Gates
• Except for special areas such as utility locations and parking lots, use fencing and gates with discretion.
• Use chain-link fencing to maintain visibility.
• Surround all construction near facilities with high fences and secured gates.
• Top chain-linked fencing adjacent to buildings with barbed wire.
• Secure all gates with heavy-duty padlocks.
Exterior Lighting
• Place wall-mounted or freestanding lights 12-14 feet above the ground.
• Direct lighting at the facility if the building is patrolled from the exterior.
• Light the area around the facility if the buildings are patrolled from within.
• Use effective lighting at all entries.

Remember, a key foundation for all learning is a safe, secure school environment.

By: Sonitrol

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