The Need for Active Security
The presence of video surveillance has become a standard in our lives and offers peace of mind as we maintain a safe environment for our staff and patrons. However, gone are the days of passive monitoring being enough. We have reached a heightened need for active security monitoring solutions to protect ourselves, our employees, and individuals visiting our facilities.
What is Active Security Monitoring?
To grasp the importance of active monitoring, you must first understand reactive monitoring. A typical video management system stores hours and hours of recorded video that can be reviewed later as needed (if it’s not erased). This is reactive monitoring, meaning that surveillance is not being monitored and nothing is being flagged in real-time. In this case, recordings are in reaction to events, whether for forensics or to look back and gather clarifying information about something that has already taken place. While this can be useful at times — why not work to prevent unwanted and potentially dangerous situations altogether?
Active monitoring allows you to proactively identify dangerous situations – often before an incident occurs. For some large organizations, this meant having a human watch a video wall for long hours, scanning for something out of place or dangerous. Not only does this require thousands of paid hours a year—it’s simply not dependable. Humans, by nature, are a species that makes mistakes, gets bored, or get tunnel vision.
What does human monitoring mean for video surveillance? It means that the margin of error on manually monitored surveillance is predictably unpredictable. Infinite factors can impact a person’s attention to detail, ability to focus, or attention span each day. Not to mention, security departments are not immune to staffing shortages or unexpected absences. So, it’s not a matter of if a human error can occur—but a matter of when.
Technology has evolved to the point that the task of monitoring video can now be automated; video feeds can run through computers that can be programmed to analyze the images and recognize specific situations. Even better, video feeds can usually be from existing, in-place cameras. No camera upgrades required.
Tragedy Can Strike Anywhere At Anytime. Be Prepared.
Potential safety risks occur every day. Hazards range from spilled liquids—a seemingly harmless threat that can rack up thousands of dollars in slip and fall settlements—to weapons, people, or vehicles that pose a threat. Common risks affect everyone, but the catastrophic risks have the potential to impact anyone.
For example, gun violence is increasing but still extremely rare. GunViolenceArchive.org classifies mass shootings as any instance where four or more people are shot or killed. According to their definition and database, there were over 50 mass shootings in April of 2022 alone, ending 61 lives and injuring 255 others.
Surveillance can’t eliminate gun violence but an actively monitoring security platform can transform a surveillance system from just a forensics
resource to an immediate alert and prevention tool. Cameras with risk detection features can identify the presence of a drawn weapon right away, ideally before it is even used. Alerts can be sent immediately to internal and external contacts, with custom messaging, as required. The detection event can also initiate special identification on recorded video footage. Immediate detection and notifications can expedite situational awareness when seconds can literally be the difference between an incident and a tragedy. Detection is not limited to weapons. Unwanted presence detection in areas or by specific individuals can also be programmed. At-risk situations can be proactively recognized, and alerts issued immediately to necessary personnel.
With reports of shootings on the rise nationally, it’s more important than ever to take an immediate and proactive approach to secure your facilities.
But Don’t Forget About Everyday Risks (and Costs)
While gun violence is a real and horrific threat, organizations are, statistically, extremely unlikely to experience them. What is extremely likely are common encounters like trespassing, medical incidents, and slip and falls. This applies to patrons and employees For example, 85 percent of worker’s compensation claims are attributable to slip and fall accidents on slick floors. Disabling injuries due to falls can cost businesses $250,000 to $300,000 per year.
A proactive system can detect potential issues and unfortunate occurrences, immediately alerting the people necessary to address the situation. For example, when a slipping hazard is detected, facilities personnel can be notified to fix the problem before an incident occurs. Prevention is the is the ideal outcome. However, if someone does slip, an intelligent system can also detect the fallen person. In this case, facilities, management, and potentially first responders can be contacted. Help can be provided much more quickly.
As mentioned before, incident footage is flagged upon detection, allowing organizations to bookmark and review footage before it is erased or becomes difficult to locate. This saves time in urgent situations. Also, from an exposure standpoint, footage can also provide protection from insurance fraud scams that might come back at a much later date.
Detecting potential hazards improves safety while also mitigating claim severity.
Different Campus Threats—Same Tragic Results
In recent years, certain social media trends have racked up costly damages in vandalisms and thefts in schools, especially in bathrooms. While cameras aren’t permitted in bathroom settings, a proactive risk-mitigation platform can be added to cameras, outside of bathrooms, to identify loitering behaviors or flag when people are going in and out. There is no facial recognition so no privacy concerns.
Parking lots and their entry gates are another high-risk area. Non-vehicle entries through gates may be considered trespassers. Trespassers are just one of the risks that are can be identified. Parameters can be put in place at any entrance, such as a parking lot gate, that should not have traffic at a given time or day.
A proactive monitoring system can work to combat non-violent tragedies as well. On January 29, 2019, windchills were 51 degrees below zero on a midwestern university campus when a student was accidentally trapped outside in the middle of the night. The doors had locked behind him, and nobody was present to let him back inside. Unfortunately, he was found deceased outside the next day. Surveillance video showed the student’s attempts to get help. The student’s mother has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university. At another school, a student tragically took their own life beneath a stairwell. Despite the stairwell being in view of a camera, it was unmonitored, and the student was not discovered until it was too late.
Had a system been in place to alert someone of these time-sensitive safety concerns, these tragedies may have been avoided for the friends, families, and administrations involved.
Other Unknown Needs for Medical Attention
Hospitals, especially in areas with active gangs, experience “dump and runs” where an individual is dumped at the Emergency Department’s entrance after they have sustained injuries from illegal activities. To avoid getting in trouble themselves, these “friends” drive away without assisting the person inside or alerting medical staff to the situation. If there is no hospital personnel outside when this happens, that person is at risk of not receiving help in time, laying there until they’re noticed. Even if cameras are present, they are not useful unless actively monitored.
Solo workers represent another common yet similar situation. For example, an elementary school custodian was working the overnight shift when he began experiencing a medical emergency. After falling to the ground, he was unable to call for help, causing him to lay there for eight hours until he was eventually discovered. Maintenance workers are not the only people that face these risks, as many industries require people to work alone and today’s workforce shortages often create unintended solo worker situations.
Once again, had an active monitoring system been in place to notify someone of a fallen person, the overnight janitor could have been aided much sooner and the chances of a worse outcome would be minimized.
Endless Risks. One Solution.
It’s nearly impossible to identify every threat that a business may or may not need to be wary of. There is no foolproof way to determine the intentions of others, either. Humans are unpredictable and environmental accidents can happen at any time.
Proactive monitoring systems, based on artificial intelligence, can be programmed to learn new risks—such as abandoned vehicles, loitering, and crowd formation—which helps users to prevent and protect from even the most unique situations. As these updates become available, they happen automatically and do not require additional purchases, fees, or service visits to access new AI features.
Interested in a demonstration? We can arrange tests of footage you send us or live trials.
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