3 Ways to Strengthen Access Control on Campus

Did you know that 50% of criminal offences on college/university campuses in Toronto are burglaries? The Department of Education defines burglaries as ‘the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft.’ The question is— in a campus environment where openness and accessibility to buildings are part of everyday life, how can campus police or security teams keep a tight control over building access? How do they find the right balance?

Here are three ways universities and colleges are using IP access control technology to keep campuses both welcoming and safe.

Automating Door Schedules to Secure Campuses

Everyone wants to be more efficient. That’s why we use tools that automate manual tasks. It’s also why campus police departments appreciate an intuitive access control solution. They can set building and classroom doors to automatically lock or unlock based on a school’s schedule. Only when permitted, students and staff can access locked buildings or rooms. Meanwhile, operators remain focused on other important tasks. If there is a breach or a door is left open, the access control system will alert them so they can quickly respond.
Security teams can add other levels of validation to rooms. These can be for a science lab or IT room where the school stores hazardous chemicals or expensive equipment. It is as simple as adding a biometric reader to the door as a second layer of authentication. Security operators can also visually verify cardholders using live video from a unified security platform.

Setting cardholder permissions for thousands of students is time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Student and staff records systems can be integrated within the Security Centre platform. Security departments can then set up system rules such as ‘if the student is in this class or program, give them access to this cardholder group’. At the beginning of each semester, students can automatically receive the right access privileges.
A school can set over 100 different cardholder groups. Each group can have specific building access rules, and each building can be associated with many groups. These rules can depend on criteria like whether the cardholder is a student or faculty, or when and where they need to go within the building.

Discover how the University of Hull simplified the assignment of cardholder permissions to speed up student enrolment.

Achieving Better Visibility with a Unified Security View

Better campus visibility starts with a unified view. Voted as the safest college campus in Toronto, York University knows this well. Operators monitor video surveillance, access control systems, automatic license plate recognition systems, and police radios with built-in GPS all from a map of the campus.
If someone tries to access a building without permission, security operators receive an alarm. They get notified with cardholder information and a live video of the event so they can quickly see what is going on. With an intercom integration, campus police can speak directly with the student to address the issue or dispatch someone to help. When there is an investigation in buildings such as libraries, cafeterias or other common facilities which remain open all day, video surveillance recordings can help solve the case faster.

Steve Goodman, Technology Architect and Manager of the Communications Center for BYU’s chartered police department said, “With Security Center, we are expanding our platform in a way that our operators will have everything they need at their fingertips to ensure the fastest and safest response to any emergency on campus.”

Security and Higher Learning – Finding the Balance

Finding this balance between securing buildings and keeping an open-campus feel is not easy, but the right solutions can help. Advanced access control technology can give campus security teams more control over their environment. This ultimately helps students and staff feel safe as they move from classrooms to residences and cafeterias on campus.

Ready to learn more about a modern IP access control system? Watch this short video about the Synergis access control system.

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