Recent data from the K-12 School Shooting Database sheds light on an important factor in active shooting incidents at schools – most of them happen outside the building. This crucial information can help us better protect our students and staff today. In fact, when we detect these threats on outside perimeters, we can potentially stop a shooter from ever gaining access to a school building and its classrooms full of students. And the earlier a threat can be detected, the faster first responders can be alerted and staff and students notified to go into lockdown.
This instant and automated response is so important not only in schools, but also in other situations such as the recent Lewiston, Maine shooting. That gunman was seen walking into the bowling alley with the weapon in full view. Had an AI software been monitoring the cameras installed at the bowling alley, it could have detected the gunman as he entered. It also could have more quickly notified first responders who would have then had the gift of time to potentially stop him before he made it to the second location or even while at the bowling alley.
The Solution: AI Visual Gun Detection
Schools, hospitals and other organizations around the country have been adopting new technologies such as AI visual gun detection to help protect their campuses from active shooter threats and gun violence. As the below image shows, this software, when integrated with existing security cameras, can identify an active shooter in less than a second and once verified, can initiate a robust response that includes notifying police, locking doors, sounding alarms, sending alerts and more.
However, while the above image shows the shooter inside a building, it’s just as important to be deploying the software with cameras on the outside perimeter as shown below.
It’s a Race Against Time
According to the FBI, most active shooter incidents are over within 5 minutes. What this means is that every second counts and the earlier a threat can be detected, the better the outcome can be, and the more lives that can be saved. So how do schools beat this race against time? The key is a ensuring you have protection in the areas most likely to be targeted:
- Cameras covering interiors and outside school buildings
- Cameras positioned to monitor common shooter locations such as parking lots, playgrounds, school entrances, hallways
- AI visual gun detection software integrated with all of these cameras so they can be transformed into 24/7 monitors for visible weapons. The AI software chosen should provide:
- A robust response so that once a weapon is identified, the software can instantly carry out a pre-determined plan such as locking doors, notifying police, setting off alarms and alerting staff and students. As we have seen in many active shooter situations, having a person responsible to handle this action in a crisis is ineffective. AI technology does not get flustered, panic or seek shelter - it acts instantly to mitigate an active shooter incident.
- Situational intelligence that provides precise information on the shooter’s location at any given time. With this information, first responders know exactly where to go when they arrive at the scene and enables staff to provide safe evacuation routes to students in staff who are on site.
- If the camera is needed to monitor an outside location at night, ensure proper lighting is available for the camera to get a clear view of the area. Customers may also opt to look into more feature-rich cameras with light optimization features that are designed specifically for use in low lighting.
Omnilert AI Visual Gun Detection: A Solution for Inside and Outside
Powered by AI, Omnilert Gun Detect reliably and rapidly recognizes firearms and immediately triggers multi-channel communication alerts and automated pre-defined safety protocols. The key advantage of this software is that it gives emergency response teams advance warning before shots are fired, while also providing first responders with precise information on the location and visuals of the potential shooter.
Schools around the country are adopting Omnilert Gun Detect at a rapid rate, and many prioritize outside cameras because they understand the importance of stopping a threat before it enters a school building. Below are just a few examples:
- Sonoran University in Arizona. As described in this recent case study, Sonoran keeps the buildings on its 8.5 acre campus safe by strategically integrating Omnilert Gun Detect software with cameras both inside and outside each building. Paul Collins, Senior Director of IT, stated, “We believe visual gun detection is the missing link in having the best system possible for keeping our students, staff and patients safe while on our campus.”
- Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) in Maryland. With more than 27,598 students located across 22 elementary and 9 middle schools, 7 high schools, and 5 education centers, CCPS selected Omnilert Gun Detect to use on its outside building cameras. As Jason Stoddard, head of security for CCPS stated, "There’s no way that we can monitor 1,500 cameras all at any given time. With Omnilert Gun detect, it does not matter if a school as 10 cameras or 10,000 - it can monitor every single camera simultaneously.”
- Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS). Home to more than 111,094 students in pre-K to 12th grade and over 21,000 staff members, BCPS is adding Omnilert Gun Detect to more than 7,000 cameras both inside and outside its campus. As the BCPS Superintendent of Schools, Myriam Yarbrough, stated to NBC News, “What this system does is it helps us to provide emergency response right away. In a lot of cases where there have been horrific incidents, every second and every minute counts, and you have people who are either frozen in the moment, or you have people who assume someone else has called 911.”
Putting an End to Active Shooters
Our goal at Omnilert is to do whatever we can to help prevent and mitigate active shooter situations. The best security strategy is always going to be a layered one that includes multiple technologies and checkpoints as well as key considerations such as installing cameras throughout common outside areas. Working together, these layers can provide a level of protection that was simply not possible in the past. Many of these technologies are not only available today, but they are also very easy to implement. With the case of AI visual gun detection, this solution can be integrated with any existing IP-based camera already in place at a school and once it is up and running, it gets smarter and more intelligent every day it monitors the inside and outside of a school.