While high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools are largely closed off campuses with robust visitor rules and monitored entrances, universities and colleges are different. Many of them have open campuses that take up city blocks with public businesses and residences. Others have galleries, parks, or museums that are accessible to the public. Or, there could be visitors coming and going from the campus without being documented.
Open campuses pose a variety of security risks because there is no visitor sign in, no record of people coming and going, and public access to many areas. Uniformed guards can be stationed in buildings and entrances, but for large campuses like University of Toronto or York University, this is less practical and can be very expensive.
There are automated technical security measures that can be taken to ensure that the mix of education and public access is kept safe for all involved and the security of your open campus is not compromised.
Security for Open Campuses
Conduct a Site Assessment
When looking to equip your open campus with automated security measures, a site assessment is necessary as a first step. A qualified security services company like Sonitrol can visit your campus, find vulnerable areas, and find ways to secure these vulnerabilities. We can also find ways to prevent future problems and have foresight into potential situations and how to prevent them.
Without a site security assessment, any security measures you install may be lacking or irrelevant.
Access Control for Dormitories
Any campus with on-site residences knows the absolute essential nature of dormitory security. Students rely on their school to keep them safe, and on an open campus where the public could gain access to these private areas, access control is necessary.
Providing students with automated access control cards is one of the most reliable ways to ensure security. Each student has a card with access to the areas that they need based on where they live. When students move out, their cards can simply be reprogrammed. You don’t have to worry about people sharing passcodes, or the public accessing these areas. Students will have access to the restricted areas that they need while ensuring their safety.
Visitor Sign In
While it is not possible to monitor the public who may walk through an open campus, you can monitor those who are actively trying to gain access to it. Having visitors to the dormitories, like friends or family, sign in with administration and be given a guest access card or special identification ensures they are documented, they are held accountable to the person they are visiting, and they are still able to access and enjoy areas with the person they are visiting. When they finish their visit, they can return their access card or ID and revoke their ability to access the areas.
While you can’t monitor everyone who comes and goes from a campus, you can monitor those who are gaining access to dormitories as visitors.
Over 75% of schools are currently using security cameras on their campuses. On an open campus, security cameras are necessary for dissuading negative behaviour, monitoring events, and having evidence in the event that an incident occurs.
Cameras can be triggered by motion or access, or be recording constantly. With apps like mySonitrol, administrators or security teams can have live access to all the cameras and have a live view of every area of the school where cameras are present.
Security cameras for open campuses placed in buildings and outdoor areas can help reduce insurance claims, physical incidents, theft, vandalism, and more. They are essential for open campuses to remain safe and have a proper response in case of an emergency.
Secure Admin Areas
While students regularly need access to various buildings across campus at all hours of the day and night, administration buildings and areas usually operate on strict hours. After these hours are over for the night, these buildings need to be properly secured to prevent break-ins, theft, or other security risks.
Administrative areas contain sensitive information like student records, financial information, faculty data, and more. Access control systems with an integrated alarm system are important in these areas to ensure they are not accessed by the wrong people after hours. In the morning, they can be opened by a staff member and locked up in the evening.
While no university or college wants to think of the worst case scenario, an important part of any security plan for an open campus is a lockdown procedure. Having an automated and robust security system in place is absolutely key in emergency moments like this.
Automated door locks, restricted access control, security cameras, alarm systems, and remote access to camera feeds are all necessary in a successful lockdown procedure. While each open campus is different, they all have the same needs of having a reliable security system to protect them in the most urgent of times.
Contact Sonitrol for School Campus Security
If you’re looking for ways to secure your open campus, Sonitrol can help. We provide access control solutions, CCTV systems, and alarm systems that can all be integrated and all use Verified Response. Reduce your campus false alarms with Sonitrol’s Verified Response.
Contact us today for your free consultation to secure your open school campus. We can keep your students, faculty, and guests safe.