Enhanced security system installed

Bernardo Vigil

During the student’s two-week spring break, security director Mary Andersen was overseeing the complete overhaul of Benilde-St. Margaret’s security system. While the most visible signs of this change are the 20 plus new security cameras adorning the interior and exterior of the building, the security upgrade included other things such as new alarms, motion detectors and a card access system all provided by “Security Products” based out of Blaine.

The addition of the new cameras puts the vast majority of the school, as well as much of the outside building, under surveillance. “The camera expansion is there to make sure the entire building can be monitored by cameras,” said Ms. Andersen. This expansion includes the north building despite its possible impending demolition.

Contrary to popular belief, however, the school does not have anyone staffed to watch the cameras at all times; the camera’s principal purpose is for reference after a report of theft or burglary has been made. Since the camera system has been implemented some 20 years ago, they have been used several times to catch people stealing things like laptops from the building. Despite this, Ms. Andersen stated that the administration did not want the students to feel like they were always being watched. “A lot of people assume that you have people sitting around watching [the cameras]… that’s not how we want to treat our students,” said Ms. Andersen.

In addition to the increase in numbers in regards to the cameras, the new system records everything digitally and allows for remote access, that is, Ms. Andersen or anyone else with access can see the security feed from any computer with an Internet connection.

According to Ms. Andersen, the upgrade was long overdue. “The old system was at least ten years old… it was in many ways antiquated which made it difficult to use and repair. Sometimes we had difficulty finding replacement parts for it,” said Ms. Andersen.

In addition to the cameras, BSM has upgraded and expanded the use of card keys by integrating them with the alarms, as well as new motion detectors to be used after the building has been closed down. The motion detectors are in place so that if someone were to break in to the building after school hours, the administration or a first responding team can know exactly what part of the building they are in.