How to Keep Campus Safety a Top Priority
Campus safety and security is a top priority for educational institutions throughout our country. Schools are committed to making the campus and surrounding area as safe and secure as possible. Part of the equation in keeping this a front-and-center issue at all times involves the implementation and maintenance of several important risk management measures and practices:
Having a fully operational campus safety department that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In accomplishing this, many schools operate three 8-hour shifts around the clock with a minimum number of officers on duty at all times. One officer, for example, may staff the desk, monitoring live video streams from the many security cameras installed around the campus. Also, during each shift, officers patrol the parking lots and buildings, on foot and in campus safety vehicles. They may also patrol the neighborhood surrounding the school, within a certain distance, such as a one-mile radius. Campus safety officers secure the buildings and surrounding property and provide many other security services, including escorts.
The coordination between the school and local police department to provide safety and security on and off campus. Police department officers may be assigned to the area surrounding the university, patrol the campus and neighborhood 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Providing escort & shuttle service: Universities either provide walking escort or transportation to any point on campus or within a one-mile radius of it 24/7.
Locking or monitoring all campus doors during regular business hours. Access can be provided, via ID card and will vary depending on one’s needs. For example, access to offices, labs, etc. within a building may be restricted to those with a demonstrated need.
Strong best practices for reporting suspicious activity: A policy should be in place for students to report suspicious activity, whenever they observe it on or around campus. Campus safety officers should respond directly to suspicious activity on campus and report it to their local police department when it is observed off campus.
Clear practices for reporting campus safety incidents. Students should be clear on how to file a report of any safety incident that occurs. In addition, robust protocols must be in place for the school to follow up on all incident reports directly with all individuals making a report and, when appropriate, with local authorities. Reporting all security-related incidents is important because this information makes it possible for the educational institution to track as well as to anticipate criminal activity.
Updated school policies for responding to an incident on or near campus: Depending on the nature of the situation, a school should have a number of notification methodologies in place to alert students and the campus community. This involves website alerts, email, text messages, voice mail, campus PA announcements, and emergency kiosks. Alerts will be issued when the situation meets the standard of “imminent danger” to the campus or community. This means the alert will be be issued when any conditions or dangers exist which may cause serious physical harm immediately or before the imminence of such danger can be eliminated through enforcement or other safety procedures. The decision to issue an alert is typically made by the educational institution’s president or by campus safety alone, or in consultation with the local police department or other emergency responders.
Training students. Students should be trained each term regarding their personal safety. Some of this training may take place via seminars and workshops or on-line. Topics include personal and property protection; what to do in case of an emergency; reminders to update the schools alert system and emergency contact information; how to evaluate off-campus housing regarding safety features; and others.
Campus security is a vital component to the success of an educational institution and an integral part of any robust risk management program. In addition, securing insurance solutions that address the various exposures schools face is essential. At Caitlin Morgan, we offer coverage to many types of educational facilities including higher education facilities such as universities, public schools, private & charter schools and schools for special needs. Give us a call at 877.226.1027 to find out more about our program.