In the U.S. and Canada, Majorities Prefer that Children Attend Schools with Surveillance Cameras over Those Without

Yet Locked Doors are Seen as the Most Effective Way to Keep Schools Safe

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New York, NY – Adults in the U.S. (54%) are more likely than those in Canada (40%) to say that they are more concerned about children’s safety at school than they were a year ago, according to a new poll of over 1,000 adults in each of the U.S. and Canada conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Avigilon. Four in ten (40%) U.S. adults are no more or less concerned, compared to over half (55%) of Canadian adults, while few say that their level of concern has decreased in the past year (6% in the U.S., 4% in Canada).

  • While Canadian parents are more likely to be more concerned about children’s safety at school than last year, compared to adults without children (47% vs. 37%), this gap isn’t as pronounced in the U.S. (58% of parents are more concerned vs. 53% of those without children at home).
  • In both countries, women tend to be more concerned about school safety than are men (62% vs. 47% in the U.S., and 46% vs. 34% in Canada).
  • Younger adults in both countries tend to be less concerned, with about one in ten in the U.S. (8%) and in Canada (7%) expressing this view, compared to 3% of those aged 55 and over in the U.S, and 3% of those over 35 in Canada.

Adults in the U.S. and Canada are most likely to feel that schools in Canada are extremely or very safe (48% of U.S. adults; 53% of Canadian adults), more so than schools in the UK (38% of U.S. adults; 33% of Canadian adults), and particularly in the U.S. (29% of U.S. adults; 11% of Canadian adults). Canadian adults are particularly concerned about safety in U.S. schools, with a majority (53%) saying that they feel U.S. schools are not very or not at all safe (vs. 24% of U.S. respondents).

  • Compared to men, women in both the U.S. and Canada are more likely to perceive U.S. schools as being unsafe, regardless of where they are:

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Keeping Schools Safe

For about four in ten adults on both sides of the border (37% in the U.S. and 41% in Canada), having the doors locked at all times is deemed as the most effective way to keep schools safe. Opinions diverge, however, when it comes to armed guards; three in ten (29%) U.S. adults see this as the most effective way of keeping schools safe compared to only one in ten (11%) Canadians. Rather, Canadians are more likely to see surveillance cameras as the best solution (36% vs. 24% of U.S. respondents).

In the U.S., other means volunteered by 1% of those polled include all of the above measures, gun control laws, metal detectors, employees carrying concealed weapons, religion in school, and other mentions. In Canada, other mentions include educating children (1%) and various other mentions (7%).

  • Those who tend to view surveillance cameras the most effective means of keeping schools safe include those aged 35 -54 (38%) in Canada vs. 30% of those aged 18-34.

Additionally, majorities of those in U.S. (60%) and Canada (52%) say that they would prefer that their children or children of their friends/loved ones go to a school with surveillance cameras over one without.

While school safety is a real and growing concern, many believe that parents are not made aware of the security measures in place at their children’s schools. Fewer than one in six adults in the U.S. (16%) and only one in ten (11%) in Canada agree that these measures are clearly communicated, while three in ten (29%) of those in the U.S. and a quarter (25%) of those in Canada feel that parents are made somewhat aware of them. Just over one in five (22% in the U.S. and 23% in Canada) say that it’s not clear to parents what security measures are in place, while only 7% in both countries say that parents are not informed about them. Roughly three in ten (27%) in the U.S. and a third (33%) in Canada are not sure.

  • Differences emerge when comparing parents in the two countries: among Canadian parents, four in ten (40%) say that it is not clear what measures are in place, or that parents are not informed, compared to only 28% of U.S. parents who hold this opinion.

While majorities of adults in both countries say that schools are underfunded but that we need to make safety a priority, those in the U.S. are more likely to feel this way than are those in Canada (68% vs. 60%). Likewise, U.S. adults are more likely to feel that current funding allocated to school safety is inadequate (52% vs. 42% of Canadians), though similarly small proportions believe schools do not need more funding for security (16% in the U.S., 17% in Canada).

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted March 27 - March 28, 2013 in the U.S. and March 27- 29, 2013 in Canada. For the survey in the U.S., a national sample of 1,016 adults aged 18 and older from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel were interviewed online. For the survey in Canada, a national sample of 1,084 adults aged 18 and older from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel were interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that each sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe in each country. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire adult population in the United States/Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Rebecca Sizelove
Associate Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs
New York, NY

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In the U.S. and Canada, Majorities Prefer that Children Attend Schools with Surveillance Cameras over Those Without

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Rebecca Sizelove Strong
Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs