<p> In light of the recent school shootings in Newtown, Conn., educational institutions across the country have been reviewing and tightening their security procedures.</p> <p> But are there measures to make certain children&#39;s schools are as safe as they can be?</p> <p> As it turns out, there are. Here are seven tips to help educators, parents and students improve the security at schools, according to Paul Timm, president of RETA Security in Lemont, Ill.</p> <p> [<a href="">10 Computer-Security Essentials for High School Students</a>]</p>

Establish deterrents

<p> Deterrents are simply those things that can be used to discourage somebody from wanting to victimize others, Timm said.</p> <p> &quot;You will always find deterrent elements, especially on the outside of the building,&quot; he explained. &quot;Do you have good lighting? Do you have shrubbery that&#39;s trimmed so that you have good natural surveillance? Do you have signs that tell people what the rules and expectations are?&quot;</p> <p> Timm said it&#39;s virtually impossible to measure the effectiveness of these deterrents.</p> <p> &quot;For example, we can&#39;t say, &#39;Oh yeah, because we had good lighting, the bad guy saw that, didn&#39;t want to be seen and went to a school down the street instead,&#39;&quot; Timm explained.</p> <p> &quot;However, there are plenty of examples that deterrents work. Otherwise, McDonald&#39;s wouldn&#39;t light up their whole property at night. Deterrents are discouraging the bad guys from looking at us as an easy target.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">10 Home Security Tips You Haven&#39;t Thought Of</a>]</p>

Document the school&#39;s assets

<p> Assets help schools determine what kind of measures they&#39;re going to have in place.</p> <p> &quot;For example, I grew up at Argonne National Labs, which is a Department of Energy facility,&quot; Timm said. &quot;Assets are like nouns &mdash;people, places and things.</p> <p> &quot;[Argonne] rated &#39;things&#39; as their No. 1 asset because they had nuclear materials. When that&#39;s the case, something that becomes very important is intrusion-detection systems, or, in schools, <a href="" target="_blank">burglar-alarm systems</a>.&quot;</p> <p> However, Timm said, things are not schools&#39; No. 1 asset &mdash;people are. Burglar alarms only protect things after all the people are gone.</p> <p> &quot;You must agree on what your No. 1 asset is, because that will dictate what your measures are,&quot; he said. &quot;For example, if people are your No. 1 assets, then communication and access control become the most important things, not the burglar-alarm systems.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">10 Back-to-School Online-Shopping Safety Tips</a>]</p>

Establish the most likely threats

<p> Threats go hand-and-hand with assets. Timm said schools have to figure out what they&#39;re trying to protect the buildings and their occupants from.</p> <p> &quot;Is it an outsider threat or is it an insider threat? If it&#39;s an insider threat, is it things that stem from bullying, or drug and alcohol abuse?&quot; he asked. &quot;If it&#39;s an outsider threat, what are we looking at? Is it an active shooter, or are we looking at theft and vandalism?</p> <p> &quot;That&#39;s what a threat assessment is all about,&quot; Timm said. &quot;It&#39;s listing those things, and determining where we have the most risk.&quot;</p> <p> The next four areas &mdash;deterrence, detection, delay, and response &mdash;are all the backbone elements of physical security, according to Timm.</p> <p> &quot;We&#39;re not inventing anything here that hasn&#39;t been known in the physical security field forever,&quot; he said.</p> <p> [<a href="">12 Ways to Make Burglars Avoid Your House</a>]</p>

Have an active security policy

<p> Many schools establish a crisis-management plan, which is often required, and then call that their security plan.</p> <p> &quot;But that&#39;s the response part of your security plan,&quot; Timm said. &quot;The management side of things &mdash;we have to be proactive in our documented practices as well.</p> <p> &quot;For example, do we have a functional security committee that meets each semester that&#39;s comprised of internal and external stakeholders? Do we have practices that are documented for visitor management? I don&#39;t mean people sign in and get a sticker &mdash;I mean real practices.&quot;</p> <p> Timm said schools that send staff members and students to off-site activities, such as field trips, should have documented practices for communicating with those staff members.</p> <p> &quot;All of those go into the management side of things,&quot; he said. &quot;What we tend to do is develop practices after we&#39;ve had incidents.</p> <p> &quot;Remember, when we&#39;re talking about management, we&#39;re talking about being proactive and having documented practices. You may not be able to be perfect and have them all, but you should be moving forward nonetheless.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">How Cellphones Are Changing School Emergency Plans</a>]</p>

Establish methods of detection

<p> Methods of detection involve everything from video surveillance to access-control measures to communication systems.</p> <p> &quot;Detection simply says, &#39;How would I know if something has gone wrong? How would I communicate that to other people if something was going wrong?&#39;&quot; Timm said.</p> <p> &quot;Most of our <a href="" target="_blank">video-surveillance systems</a> aren&#39;t working a lot in detection. They&#39;re chiefly forensic in nature, meaning we&#39;re going to look at the DVR after there has been an issue; we&#39;re not really watching monitors,&quot; he said.</p> <p> &quot;It could be there&#39;s a fight, or movement toward a fight at a cafeteria, and somebody says, &#39;Hey, let the school-resource officer know,&#39;&quot; Timm said. &quot;And he calls it up on the camera and decides whether or not he needs to be involved, or others need to be involved who are going to be able to handle the situation. That&#39;s detection.&quot;</p> <p> However, Timm said having someone watch the video-surveillance system full-time is not very effective.</p> <p> &quot;But monitoring is different,&quot; he said. &quot;Monitoring says, &#39;I&#39;m waiting for a signal to be sent that somebody has broken in, and then I can call up cameras and see if that&#39;s true.&#39;</p> <p> &quot;Monitoring on an alarm system is based on a trigger. So when a trigger happens, the security person listens to see if they&#39;re hearing movement through halls. Then they know to dispatch the police.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">Does Your Middle-School Child Really Need a Cellphone?</a>]</p>

Create a delay

<p> Creating a delay centers on slowing down the adversary. That could mean anything from vehicle barriers on the outside of the building, to running a closed campus with all the exterior doors closed and locked, to securing the boiler rooms and emptying classrooms inside the building, Timm said.</p> <p> &quot;Can somebody still get in there? Yes, but if [the building] is closed and locked, we&#39;re really slowing them down,&quot; he said. &quot;That&#39;s what delay is all about. So it&#39;s important that we have good door hardware.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">10 Gadgets for Back to School</a>]</p>

Establish a rapid-response procedure

<p> If an incident occurs, who is going to respond first &mdash;a teacher, a hall monitor or a security guard?</p> <p> &quot;What kind of capabilities does that person have?&quot; Timm asked. &quot;Are they trained in CPR? Are they trained in conflict resolution? And what supplies do they have? Are they carrying a two-way radio, a first-aid kit, flashlights?</p> <p> &quot;It&#39;s not just about training,&quot; he said. &quot;And that all goes into the response.&quot;</p> <p> Simply put, Timm said, deterrence is discouraging unauthorized actions; detection is recognizing unauthorized actions; delay is slowing unauthorized actions; and response is reacting to unauthorized actions.</p> <p> [<a href="">10 Security Essentials Every College Student Needs</a>]</p>

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