College Campus Safety Series: Part II
September 8, 2017
Welcome to Part II of a three-part blog series on college campus safety! Last week, we covered what students can do to make themselves safer on campus. This week, we are providing information on how universities can further contribute to student safety. And finally, next week, we’ll cover fire safety on campus. Be sure to tune in weekly, and let us know your campus safety tips in the comments.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO KEEP YOUR CAMPUS SAFE(R)
You have probably already taken great measure in keeping your campus safe and, thanks to the Clery Act, campus crime rates are now public information. In this week’s blog, we hope to help strengthen your campus security efforts while reducing your incidences of Clery Act fines, which are now double what they used to be.
1. Commit to Student Wellness and Safety, Then Educate
In the last blog, we touched on emergency phones (blue lights), but what else can be done to keep your campus safe? Beyond what is required of universities, we’d like to ensure maximum campus security. It seems fitting then that our first suggestion includes education.
- Openly address gender-based violence and other crimes. The U.S. Department of Justice suggests involving the campus and community along with putting proven interventions in place. One university sends emails for every incidence of police activity while another sends warnings for more urgent matters only. You know your campus better than anyone, so find what works best for you.
- Educate, educate and educate some more. If on-campus classes aren’t offered, AlcoholEdu is an online learning tool that is used by more than 1,700 colleges across the country. In just a few hours, everyone on campus will be more educated on the effects sexual violence and substance abuse than they were before. Prevention education is already required by the Clery Act; this tool makes enforcing the policy for all students, faculty, and staff easier.
PRO TIP: For the full, nearly 100-page guide addressing gender-based violence on college campuses from the Campus Technical Assistance and Resource Project.
2. 24/7 Swipe Access into Dorms + ID Checks
As we know with home burglaries, theft tends to occur where there is easy access. If dorms are left wide open, then it’s too easy for criminals to let themselves in. Go on offense and include electronic security plus in-person protection. Utilizing an access control system in combination with security officers around-the-clock to check school IDs will minimize the risk of the wrong person ending up in your dorms.
PRO TIP: Access control systems are extremely customizable and can either be managed on campus or hired out to the professionals to manage for you.
3. Deter Break-ins and Burglaries
Often, burglar alarms are thought of for home and business security only, however, many college campuses utilize them as an added measure of security. They can be placed throughout your campus buildings or at select locations. The key is having live personnel available 24/7 to monitor your alarms. All of our alarm monitoring agents have received the top training certification in the industry. This critical area of communication is the life-saving link between your campus and the emergency services in your city.
PRO TIP: Find out if your alarm company’s monitoring center is UL-listed, Five Diamond Certified and FM approved.
4. Keep an Eye on Students
The list of reasons to hire and place security guards on your college campus is nearly limitless. Many of our universities utilize guards for full-time security and mobile patrol, and others for event security (or all of the above). Their presence alone can act as a deterrent, but if a fire alarm goes off or an assault occurs, a fully trained, uniformed security officer is able to respond quickly. This measure provides an additional sense of security and another level of campus safety when combined with your blue lights and other measures.
PRO TIP: If you aren’t sure where key areas of weakness lie, we will conduct a security survey using industry knowledge and real-life experience to assess your campus in order to identify vulnerabilities and make intelligent, cost-effective security recommendations.
5. Keep a Camera on Predators
Security cameras can be another deterrent, but they become invaluable when acting as witness to a crime. To accomplish this, utilize a video verification service that sends recordings to a professional monitoring center (see #3’s Pro Tip) for near real-time viewing followed by dispatch to the proper authorities. In other words, video verification allows operators to deploy police officers to the site while the crime is in progress. This is not your old-school camera system.
Moreover, verified video alarms typically receive priority response from local enforcement partners, which again increases the likelihood of capturing intruders. Removing predators from your campus is an extremely effective method of crime reduction.
PRO TIP: Look for HD video surveillance systems with remote access, video monitoring, and video verification services for 24/7 campus security.
6. Catch Fires Quickly
We will talk more about fire alarms in Part III of the College Campus Safety series, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t touch on them here. For the reasons listed above, your fire alarms are much less helpful if they are not monitored. Every second counts in the event of an emergency and having a 24/7 central monitoring station reduces those precious seconds while your building is on fire. September is Campus Fire Safety Month, so check back next week for more detailed tips on fire prevention!
The pattern is easy to see: the more visible measures of security you have, the better equipped to deter or respond quickly you will be. We’ve teamed up with numerous colleges and universities to ensure their highest level of safety on campus, and we can do the same for you. If you haven’t already had a visit from a professional security company, perhaps now is the time to further your compliance with the Clery Act and avoid the expensive fines. For additional resources on campus security, check out the U.S. Department of Education’s website or contact us for more information!