Risk Reporter for Educational Facilities

Spring 2016 Vol. 4, Issue 1

Protection (public spaces)

Outdoor Security 101: 5 upgrades every school should consider

Make sure the areas and buildings surrounding your school are just as safe as your learning center.

Here are five simple but important upgrades you can make to help ensure the safety of your students, teachers and employees.

  1. Consider your foliage. Keep all bushes around your buildings trimmed so people cannot hide behind them.
  2. Lock your doors. An open-door policy at your school is a nice thought, but the fact is, you need to restrict access. Unlock the front door to your school only during the beginning of the school day when students are arriving, during which time doors should be monitored by security staff, teachers or administrators. Otherwise, install a front door buzzer system along with video monitors at the main entrance. Require all visitors to show a photo ID before letting them into the building.
  3. Keep track of your keys. Limit key distribution to teachers, administrators and maintenance staff members and keep a record of everyone who has a key. Rekey your locks if a key is lost or not returned.
  4. Lighting. Outdoor lighting is essential. Ample lighting in the right places makes intruders less likely to target your school. The parking lot and the street entrances also should be well lit.
  5. Invite the community to get involved. If possible, invite neighborhood volunteers or local parent groups to start a watch program for your school. Neighborhood volunteers have a vested interest in their community and the safety of your school. Ask your local police or sheriff’s department about how to get started.

Did You Know?


Criminally oriented people will pick an easy opportunity, so don’t let your school be an easy target. Be sure to keep entryways, sidewalks and parking areas well lit. Also, after school hours, keep doors and windows closed and locked. The idea is to make your buildings difficult and high-risk targets for potential vandals.

“Our nation’s schools should be safe havens for teaching and learning, free of crime and violence. Any instance of crime or violence at school not only affects the individuals involved, but also may disrupt the educational process and affect bystanders, the school itself, and the surrounding community.”

— Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2014
U.S. Department Of Education
U.S. Department Of Justice Office Of Justice Programs



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Editor: Amy M. Kimmes akimmes@churchmutual.com

Risk Control Advisor: Edward A. Steele, CSP, ARM esteele@churchmutual.com

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