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Ensuring Quality School Facilities and Security Technologies (Guide 4 of Safe and Secure: Guides to Creating Safer Schools)

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2002
46 pages
One in a series of eight guidebooks intended to assist schools in creating a safer learning environment, this guidebook aims to help educators and other members of the community understand the relationship between school safety and the features of school facilities, including security technology and safety audits.
The guidebook first presents a historical overview and basic concepts of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED), which is defined as "the broad study and design of environments to encourage desirable behavior, heighten functionality, and decrease antisocial behavior." The traditional focus of CPTED has emphasized physical design. CPTED is based on the following basic concepts: natural surveillance, natural access control, and territoriality. After briefly discussing each of these concepts, this guidebook discusses the issues that should be addressed when planning CPTED to enhance student and staff safety. This is followed by an overview of security technology that encompasses communication devices; surveillance technology; access control technology; weapons detectors; and school size, renovation, and rebuilding. The concluding section of the guidebook discusses safety audits and security surveys. Although acknowledging that there are many approaches to site security inspections, the guidebook suggests one that can be effective. It begins with a basic school layout map similar to one typically given to school visitors. Locations on the map that need security attention would be marked, identifying them with letters or numbers that correspond with notes made during a security audit. A site map should encompass a few blocks surrounding the school as well as the school grounds. At each point of access to the school grounds and the building, the issues of natural surveillance, access control, and territoriality (basic concepts of CPTED) should be considered. Two sample school security surveys, one basic and one more detailed, are included to serve as guides. 13 references, a list of 13 annotated organizational resources, and 17 additional readings

Date Published: September 1, 2002