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Security Technology in U.S. Public Schools

NCJ Number
Julie Kiernan Coon
Date Published
170 pages
This book examines what security technologies schools use most often and what school and contextual factors are associated with the use of security technologies.
The study found that schools use a wide range of security products to address safety concerns; only 1.4 percent reported not using any technologies. Marking/identifying school property was reported by more than 80 percent of schools, and the use of lighting at night on school campuses was common. Security technologies used by the majority of schools included telephones or duress alarms in most classrooms, burglar alarm systems, controlling access to school buildings during school hours through the use of locked or monitored doors, using security cameras on school buses, and having posted signs regarding trespassing. Only 10.9 percent of schools used random sweeps to check for weapons; 9.4 percent reported using alcohol detection devices; 6.8 percent required drug testing for at least certain types of students; 1.5 percent required students to pass through metal detectors each day; and only 0.7 percent viewed contents of school bags with x-ray devices. Level of formalization in the school had the strongest relationship with level of security technology used. As predicted, larger schools located in urban areas and secondary schools were more likely to report greater use of security technology. Schools in the South were more likely to report higher total levels of technology. The variables of community and police presence were both significantly related to level of technology use; schools with greater community presence were more likely to adopt security products. Perceptions of neighborhood crime and school crime/disorder were also significantly and positively related to level of technology use. The two data sources for this study were a national mail survey of schools and demographic data on schools obtained from the Common Core of Data (90,000 schools). Data tables, 64 references, and a subject index


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