Don Shomette

People are the Prize

What Do You See Wednesday?


Check out the comments to read what others have seen!

Assess how well this school is using the three strategies of CPTED (‘septed’) or Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design:

1. Surveillance:  The ability to clearly see a potential threat
2.  Access Control: The ability to deny and delay access of unwanted persons into the school and/or school grounds
3.  Ownership: Sending a clear message that the space belongs to the school

Remember, look for the good as well as what needs to be improved.

So what do you see?


Author: Don Shomette

Don Shomette is a trainer, speaker, consultant, and owner of People are the Prize, a violence prevention company that helps people to prevent and survive a school attack. He has spent a lifetime working with police officers and principals and is consistently evaluated by those who attend his trainings as one of the best instructors ever. Don challenges, entertains, and helps school personnel to think of preventing violence in a new and positive way.

2 thoughts on “What Do You See Wednesday?

  1. School has taken ownership. Grounds appear mowed, trimmed and free of litter. Visitor parking spots are clearly marked. Surveillance, however, is inhibited. Trees block view from lower windows. Access control looks OK from a building standpoint–limited entries at ground level. From a grounds standpoint, however, a non-centralized parking plan could encourage visitors to attempt building entry at the nearest available door. No signs indicating location of main entrance are visible in the picture.

  2. Rob’s assessment is awesome. I only have a few things to add.

    1. Lighting in the front of the school appears to be very limited. This is a large building and will need some wall packs or additional lighting to ensure there are no dark spots. Lighting doesn’t have to be extremely bright—just uniform. From the picture, we have no idea how the community will influence this school. All communities do, the only question is will it be negative or positive or will people use the school grounds for illegal or unwanted activities during the evening hours? The lack of lighting might be a serious issue depending on the behavior of the community and should be assessed further.

    2. You can’t see it well, but there are cameras near the top of the building. They look like PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) cameras. Good placement, protection, and coverage. I don’t see any signs warning that the area is being recorded, which would be helpful. Warning signs are a lesser form of ownership and help to send a message that ‘we care about what happens here and we’re going to be watching.’ We know for a fact that this has an impact on some would be offenders—not all—but some and we’ll take that.

    3. I don’t like the visitor parking in the current setup. Like Rob, I too worry that it may encourage visitors to attempt building entry at the nearest door. I just don’t like cars that close to the front. Space and distance—the more we have the better we are able to see threats as they are approaching the building. Every potential threat must walk into the building—no one just magically appears inside. The more space and distance we have to observe, the safer our school.

    4. That leads me to my last point. The trees. I think this is a serious issue and not only because they hinder surveillance, but because of what it tells me of the mindset of the school. It appears to me, from what I see in the picture, that the school has turned inward. Meaning that they are not focused enough on spotting the threat before he or she has the chance to begin their act of violence. We must see the threat first and react first. Minutes matter! The faster we can initiate our crisis procedures, call for assistance, and confront the threat, the more lives we will save.

    Hindered vision just doesn’t hinder our response time. It hinders our mindset. We must see first, report first, and react first.

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