Tools to Help Secure Your Campus In Case of a Security Threat


Unfortunately, there has been a very real, growing threat of violence against school campuses of all types in recent years. And, there has been a growing effort from school systems and law enforcement as a whole to understand the cause of these violent attacks. However, no matter how good we get at predicting the events and identifying potential threats, it is virtually impossible to stop 100% of attacks before they happen. And for this reason, steps must be taken at the school level to provide additional security for their students.

According to Wikipedia, 2019 has already recorded 13 individual school shooting related incidents (Last recorded on May 7th). This includes incidents in which the school/students may not have been the motive for the shooting. However, there are tools available, from a security standpoint, to help mitigate these risks.

Physical Barriers

Prefabricated Parking Booth

Barriers are an incredibly important part of any campus's security, whether it is going to be for a school, company, or really any place with a large number of people. According to Timothy Brewer, a future presenter at Global Security Exchange 2019 (which we will be attending), 71% of attackers pass through a facility's entrance completely unhindered before their attack takes place.

A percentage that high could point to two things:

1) These places have an access control problem

2) Areas with less visible access control measures in place may be more highly targeted.

As we have talked about before, there are a few specialty items that facilities use that can instantly boost their perimeter's access control capabilities...

Entry Gates

Key West Golf Club
Golf club entrance with entry and exit lifting arms

The first tool a campus can use to instantly increase their security starts right where their property begins. An entry gate is an example of an active barrier that fully closes off the facility's entrance when it is not in use. This will typically be in the form of a lifting arm, covering a lane of traffic. However, there many other types of gates available, specializing in different types of traffic and different levels of protection.

Let's start out with a traffic gate in its most basic form. In most cases, these traffic entry gates, or boom barriers, will be outfitted with a simple plastic or hollow metal lifting arms. This type of gate will typically be seen in low-risk areas like a parking deck or railroad crossing. In this case, the arm is used to let drivers know they should stop, but the arm itself could not stop the car from driving through the gate.

Security Guard House
A government building's gate with a lifting arm and wedge barrier

However, in that case, the gate is not going to protecting something an area that is a potential target for armed assailants and/or terrorists. In area's with a higher security threat, a more heavy duty gate may be needed. Campus and facility entrances can be outfitted with anti-ramming gate arms powerful enough to stop a tractor-trailer from passing through.

Traffic Bollards

this stadium uses concrete planters for decoration and security

Traffic bollards can be an invaluable tool for campuses, especially ones that are looking for an "open campus" aesthetic. Take a university for example. Colleges do not usually want to heavily emphasize their security measures. Tall chain-link fences, in-uniform security guards, and surveillance systems can come off as uninviting for future students touring the campus. Or perhaps even worse, could signal that the school has a security problem which is not an environment that parents want to be sending their kids into. However, traffic bollards provide an avenue to increase security measures in a more discrete way.

You have probably seen the red spheres above in front of a certain big-box retailer. Well, along with fitting into their stores' general aesthetic, these spheres serve as a form of protection from ramming vehicles; they protect the storefront from 'smash and grab' burglary attempt, using a vehicle. And there are a variety of other bollard types that are used to seamlessly blend into an area. Large planters, garbage bins, and even benches can be formed from cement and anchored into the ground to provide the campus with other functions beyond security.

These bollards are a great form of protection on open, public campuses by keeping vehicles out of pedestrian areas whether in an accidental or targeted incident.

Campus Security Team

School Security Guard Booth
Campus Officer Screening In-Coming Vehicles

And you can have all the security tools in the world but it will not make any actual difference if there is no one to respond to a security threat. With the average active assailant attack lasting 12.5 minutes and the average police response time of 18 minutes, an active campus security team can sometimes be the only presence during an active assailant attack.

Generally, a security team will work in conjunction with a campus's access control tools. This can be stationed at a campus's perimeter access control points, at the entrance of campus buildings, or both. For Panel Built, our guard houses can be incorporated into this network of tools in a couple of ways.

First, the guard house can serve as an outpost of sorts, housing a portion of the security team away from the main force, oftentimes controlling the campus's access control by way of the entrance gate. The security team screens all incoming and outgoing traffic, ensuring that no unauthorized personnel makes their way onto the campus.

Guard House
Guard House designed to house a full security team and their equipment

Or the guard house can serve as the central hub for the security team. In this case, the guard house will be larger, to house more security officers and to hold additional equipment. If the campus is outfitted with a closed circuit surveillance system (which it hopefully is), the guard house can be equipped with all the monitors and controls to keep an active watch on the entire facility.

In addition to providing a 'reactive' measure against a threat, installing a guard house is a great way to prevent a threat in the first place. Although certain campuses try to hide the lengths they go to to keep their grounds secure, a visible security presence is enough to deter many would-be perpetrators, whether it be vandalism, burglary, or worse.

Are you looking to boost the security on your school's campus? Give us a call at 8006363873 or send us an email to We are always happy to help another school meet their safety needs. And if you have any questions about our products, just ask in our LiveChat feature in the bottom-right of the page! We will get you a quick answer or get you in touch with someone who can.

Timothy Brewer's blurb with Active Assailant statistics can be found here on GSX's web page.