Choosing the Best School Security Cameras: A Buyer's Guide

Protect your students, staff, and property with the right security cameras. Our buyer's guide helps you find the perfect system for your school's needs.


Matt Klingbeil



Security cameras are an essential element of school safety and security, and more and more schools are now choosing to install security camera systems. As of 2020, 91% of public schools use security cameras, and this number continues to grow.

But choosing the right school surveillance system is a bit more challenging than recognizing that your school needs one. In this buyer's guide for school security cameras, we'll cover everything that school administrators need to know about the types of security cameras best suited for schools.

Learn more about how schools improve security with our AI Camera System in our on-demand webinar.

How Security Cameras Can Benefit Schools

Video surveillance systems can offer numerous benefits to K-12 schools alike and are one of the best security solutions for improving school safety. Here are just a few of the reasons why schools would choose to install a high-quality camera system:

Identifying Developing Incidents and Emergencies

Video cameras that enable real-time monitoring allow schools to detect developing incidents and emergency situations as they happen for a swift and appropriate response. 

Today, we are all sadly aware of school shootings and the risks that today's students face; so far in 2023, there have already been 138 school shootings in the United States. However, camera systems allow schools to detect intruders and other emergencies as quickly as possible. Some systems can even be configured to notify local law enforcement and first responders.

Providing Video Evidence

Video footage is often a powerful form of evidence. Whether you are collecting evidence to take disciplinary action against a student or evidence to file legal charges against someone who committed a crime on school property, the evidence provided by school security cameras can sometimes prove invaluable.

Deterring Potential Criminal Activity or Misbehavior

Security cameras don't just detect criminal activity and misbehavior; they can also be used to deter it. When students know that they are being monitored, they are much less likely to engage in any behavior that could get them in trouble. The same is true for anyone who intends to commit a crime on school grounds.

Vape Detection

According to the FDA, about one in 10 middle school and high school students currently use e-cigarettes. Vapes are a big problem in schools, but school adminstrators can use Spot AI to tie video camera footage to environmental sensors like vape detection. This allows for quick resolution of vaping incidents to keep students safer.

Data-driven Insights

Video cameras in school buildings can be used to collect a lot of data — which you can use to form insights on how to further improve school safety and security. Best of all, using a camera system such as Spot AI that offers video intelligence features allows you to analyze your video footage for key insights automatically rather than having to pay someone to manually review it.

Access Control

Access control is another critical element of school security, and it's one that security cameras can make a lot more effective. With a security camera equipped with facial recognition features, you'll be able to integrate your cameras with your school's door locks to automatically grant access only to those authorized to access the area.

Key Features and Capabilities To Look for in a School Security Camera System

If you have decided that installing a security camera system is the right choice for improving student safety at your school, the next step is to choose the best system for your school's needs. Below, we'll break down some of the most important features and capabilities to look for in a school security camera system.

AI Camera System

Intelligent security systems such as Spot AI offer a lot more powerful capabilities than traditional security camera systems. For one, these systems allow you to automatically analyze the video your camera feeds capture, providing enlightening insights without requiring you to pour over every minute of video footage manually. 

AI camera systems can also be configured to provide automated security alerts regarding things such as trespassing and unauthorized access, ensuring that school officials or even local law enforcement officials are notified right away.

Other capabilities that an intelligent camera system like Spot AI provides include:

  • People presence: An AI security camera system can automatically detect when people are present in an area and can be configured to provide alerts when an area is breached.
  • Annotation: AI-powered camera systems can automatically annotate the footage you capture for improved organization and cataloging without the need to enter this data manually.
  • License plate recognition: AI security cameras are capable of recognizing and reading license plates for improved parking lot security.
  • Smart zones: With an AI security camera system, you'll be able to set up smart zones in security-sensitive areas and create customizable alerts for those areas.
  • Customized AI alerts: Speaking of customized AI alerts, an AI security system lets you configure automated security alerts for any number of zones and situations.
  • Vehicle idle time: A vehicle that is idling on school grounds longer than it should be is often a sign of a security incident about to happen, and AI security cameras can automatically detect and flag idling vehicles.

These capabilities make an intelligent camera system much more versatile and powerful than any traditional camera system. And given the affordability and ease of use of these systems, there's no reason not to take advantage of their benefits.

Compatibility With Any IP Camera

Many camera systems require you to use specific models of cameras and will only function with those models. However, Spot AI is a camera-agnostic system — which means you aren't restricted to using cameras from certain vendors. 

It also means that if your school already has IP security cameras in place and wants to upgrade to an intelligent camera system, you won't have to purchase new cameras to make the switch.

Types of School Security Cameras

Schools use three main security camera types

  • Bullet: Bullet cameras are usually installed outdoors but can be installed indoors as well. They provide a more limited field of view than turret and dome cameras, however, they tend to have better zoom capabilities. They are also the easiest to install.
  • Dome: Dome cameras provide a wide field of view and feature a lens that is encased in a glass dome that prevents someone from vandalizing or tampering with the camera. These cameras are typically used indoors and installed on the ceiling. 

However, one pitfall of dome cameras is that the glass dome housing the lens can be prone to collecting moisture, resulting in blurry video footage.

  • Turret: Turret cameras are similar to dome cameras but do not feature the same glass lens housing. This makes them more prone to vandalism but less prone to video quality issues due to moisture in the dome.

Simple To Set Up and Upkeep

A high-quality security camera system should be relatively easy to set up and install. It should also be easy to maintain. At Spot AI, we've designed our camera system to be a plug-and-play system that can be configured easily in little time at all. 

Spot AI also includes automated camera health alerts so that you will be alerted right away when one of the cameras in your system requires maintenance. And in the event that you do experience any issues with your system, you can rely on Spot AI's renowned customer support team for swift and helpful assistance.

Secure Local and Cloud Storage

Storing video footage can require a lot of storage space, and the more cameras you have, the more storage you are going to need. That's why it is important to choose a camera system such as Spot AI that offers unlimited cloud storage in addition to the convenience of local storage.

Security is another key concern when it comes to storing video footage. If your school's security footage falls into the wrong hands, it can create many issues. Plenty of students and outsiders alike are bright enough to hack a low-security camera system. To prevent this, Spot AI comes equipped with strong access control features in addition to automatically encrypting all video footage.

Powerful Software and Accessibility of Footage Anywhere

Along with unlimited storage space and enhanced security, one of the benefits of storing surveillance footage on the cloud is that it allows you to access the footage remotely. 

With Spot AI, video footage is sent to the cloud as it's recorded, meaning that you can monitor your camera feeds remotely in real time. This enables the convenience of accessing surveillance footage even when you are away from school property. It also allows you to easily share the footage with third parties, such as law enforcement and first responders.


An advanced school security system can provide even more powerful capabilities when it can integrate with other systems and devices. For example, integrating with access control systems unlocks capabilities like access control via facial recognition and the ability to lock down all of your school's doors automatically if a security threat is detected.

Spot AI integrates with Avigilon Alta, a leading access control solution, as well as the HALO Smart Sensor for vape detection. Vape detection software is capable of detecting the vapor clouds produced by vapes and e-cigarettes, and Spot AI's deep integrations with this technology helps schools address this growing problem.

Choosing a security system with integrations help you get more out of your product. Even if you don't already have these technologies in place, you’ll have greater flexibility should you decide to integrate with other systems later on. This way, you won't have to completely overhaul your security system as your school’s needs evolve.

Upgrade Your School's Surveillance System With Spot AI

Keeping students safe is a top priority in today's schools, and installing a high-quality, intelligent camera system is one of the most effective ways to bolster campus safety. 

With Spot AI, schools can leverage the most powerful surveillance software on the market today to automatically detect security incidents, control access to school grounds, analyze student behavior, and so much more. 

To learn more about why Spot AI is the optimum choice for school security camera systems, read more about Spot AI's cutting-edge video intelligence features.

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