School Safety

Why License Plate Reader Cameras are the Future of your School’s Safety

December 19, 2022

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School Safety

Why License Plate Reader Cameras are the Future of your School’s Safety

Students, faculty, staff, and administrators at public schools and universities deserve a safe learning environment. By capturing license plates and vehicle details in crime-prone areas such as parking lots, license plate reader cameras can play a critical role in providing 24/7 security and lowering crime rates in and around schools.

As many schools have now returned to in-person learning, they must grapple with the threat of crime. This means assessing campus safety, strategizing, and working to implement proactive security solutions that lower crime rates and protect people in and out of the classroom.

Statistics show that during the 2017-18 school year, 80% of public schools recorded one or more incidents of violence, theft, or other crime—adding up to 1.4 million incidents.

Common threats schools face include:

·        Disgruntled employees

·        Suspended students

·        Repeat offenders

·        Parking lot break-ins

·        Vandalism

Common crimes on college campuses include alcohol and drug-related issues and theft in both residential and classroom areas. Interpersonal crime like assault is also a concern for university police, as it is with all law enforcement agencies.

How License Plate Reader Cameras Fit into Your School Safety Plan

license plate reader camera

Schools understand the need to become more proactive about on-campus safety. As a result, many of these institutions have implemented security measures such as emergency alert systems and panic buttons, CCTV cameras, metal detectors, secure entryways and exits, staff training and coordination, safety drills, and security personnel and police officers.

The simple fact is that increased traffic on school campuses poses safety concerns and the potential for more criminal activity.

Not only that, but 70% of crimes involve a vehicle.

A license plate reader camera can capture licenses plates numbers—a key piece of actionable evidence—and other unique vehicle details, helping to deter crime, whether it’s in a parking lot, a school entrance, or anywhere else on campus.

LPR cameras act as a force multiplier and augment existing security measures to reduce crime, improve security, and promote safety for students, teachers, and the surrounding community.

Here’s why a license plate reader camera is the future of your school’s safety.

Maximize Existing School Safety Resources

School safety officers—also called school resource officers—often work as a one-person team for an entire school. They may have to handle various high-level responsibilities, such as ensuring the well-being of students, faculty, staff, and visitors; monitoring and communication; maintaining records and reports; enforcing district regulations; and coordinating with staff and local police.

Colleges and universities may have a campus police force, though the number of police or security personnel may vary from school to school, each with different limitations on available resources. Universities may also use measures such as IP cameras and electronic access control to enhance their safety.

Yet, when crimes occur on school campuses, license plates are a key piece of evidence police need to make an arrest.

License plate reader cameras can be placed in strategic locations, such as the entrance and exits of parking lots and high-traffic areas around campus, to provide a second set of eyes to capture and provide evidence for vehicular leads. This allows school safety officials to create a virtual gate around their campus. By doing so, LPR cameras integrate with and enhance existing safety measures.

Minimize Threats Before a Crime Occurs

License plate reader cameras provide a proactive solution to help minimize threats before they lead to criminal activity at a school.

This can have a major impact on threat assessment—a big part of what makes for an effective campus safety strategy.

“Colleges and universities place a huge emphasis on threat assessment and work diligently to identify individuals who present a threat of violence to the campus community,” says Police Chief Dr. Jack Moorman of NC Agricultural and Technical State University. “The ability to know when these individuals enter campus could be critical to violence prevention efforts.”

Flock cameras also provide real-time alerts when known suspects enter the school’s vicinity.

Administrators can also receive proactive alerts if a vehicle they have identified as at-risk, such as a suspended student or disgruntled employee, enters their campus. Set up custom notifications to notify campus law enforcement when there are unauthorized license plates in the area.

Parking Lot Safety

license plate reader camera

Parking areas are a common spot for criminal activity on campuses.

For instance, data from the 2018 Sonoma State University Daily Crime Log reveals that “50% of school crime takes place in a parking lot, but only 37.5% were solved due to lack of helpful evidence.”

Young students who witness crimes may not think to record a license plate, and first-hand accounts may lead to inaccurate or conflicting information. In addition to capturing the actionable evidence of a license plate, Flock cameras’ search capabilities can use visual identifiers like color, vehicle type, and other unique characteristics to find a suspect’s vehicle.

By placing license plate reader cameras at entrances and exits for parking lots and garages, schools can help prevent and solve crimes like vandalism, break-ins, and car thefts, providing a safer environment for everyone on campus.

How Flock Safety Makes Schools Safer

license plate reader camera

Schools across the country are seeing the benefits of installing Flock cameras as part of their crime prevention strategy.

Take, for example, Ohio State University. School officials decided to add Flock’s license plate reader cameras to parking areas after seeing an uptick in crimes, such as catalytic converter theft, stolen cars, burglaries, robberies, assault, and gun violence, starting in the fall 2021 semester.

By taking measures like deploying Flock cameras around campus parking garages and partnering with the Columbus Police Department for better campus coverage, Ohio State University reported that 2022 crime rates were the lowest in over a decade.

In one case, the Physical Security Specialist identified a suspected vehicle associated with a rash of expensive bicycle thefts using surveillance video to backtrack and identify the vehicle passing a Flock camera. Then, using the Flock Lookup and Insights features, officers placed the suspects at the site and within the timeframe of multiple thefts. Detectives recovered the bikes, and the suspect was charged.

Purdue University is another example. The university decided to install six Flock cameras on campus after the city of Lafayette decided to install ten Flock cameras—after a 9-month pilot of the cameras netted 40 arrests.

John Cox, chief of police for the Purdue University Police Department, cited random acts of violence the police had recently encountered on campus as motivation to acquire the cameras. He subsequently praised Flock cameras as a valuable tool to help keep his community safe.

Learn more about how Flock can help improve school security and reduce crime on your campus.

If you’re an administrator or school safety official who wants to create a more secure environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors, schedule a consultation today to learn more about how to reduce crime using Flock Safety cameras.

By providing law enforcement with concrete data, you can reduce crime rates and give everyone on campus peace of mind.

Flock Safety is a public safety operating system that helps communities and law enforcement in 2000+ cities work together to eliminate crime, protect privacy, and mitigate bias. We build devices that capture objective evidence and use machine learning to create and deliver unbiased investigative leads to law enforcement. Our proprietary devices and cloud-based software reduce crime by +70%. Flock Safety serves 2000 cities in 42+ states and is helping solve hundreds of crimes every day.

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