Latest posts by Jay Lassiter (see all)
The need to assess and mitigate college campus safety risks became even more paramount after the Virginia Tech shootings on April 16, 2007. We suddenly realized that our colleges and universities weren’t nearly as safe as we thought. A renewed sense of urgency increased the demands of campus administrators, law enforcement, and mental health professionals.
With school out for the summer, it’s the perfect time to re-assess your security plan and make critical changes for the new school year this fall. Each school ranges in the number of open spaces, population, number of buildings, and size. There isn’t any single security model that you can apply to every campus. However, there are several steps that universities and colleges can use to determine the best approach to security for them.
When updating the security plan, modifying visitor policies is an excellent way to reduce risks. Limiting visitors, especially at night, is one place to start.
1. Assess and Determine Immediate Security Needs that Must Be Addressed
Some campuses have had recent threats, and if so, the first order of business is to examine any of these incidents. Then evaluate if any prevention measures would have helped and implement the necessary changes to avoid future occurrences. Many times, increased security at entry points helps deny access to the campus.
2. Identify Other Security Issues
Are there security challenges that come up repetitively that need to be addressed? What types of safety incidents occur on your campus? Evaluate past incident reports to see which security violations happen most frequently.
3. Evaluate Outside Traffic Patterns
Here are some questions to think about when considering off-campus traffic. How often do students go off campus and where do they go when they do? Is there a visitor policy in place? When updating the security plan, modifying visitor policies is an excellent way to reduce risks. Limiting visitors, especially at night, is one place to start.
4. Identify Locations Where Problems Occur Often
Where do most burglaries and other violations happen? Do assaults happen mostly outside in parking lots, behind buildings, or in them? The locations where most attacks occur are prime areas to place security cameras for monitoring.
5. Partner with Your Security Integrator to Receive the Best Advice
Usually, college and universities work with experienced integrators who can provide great advice and an outside perspective. They’ll assess your needs with fresh eyes and identify previously overlooked problems. An experienced security integrator can supply valuable insights.
Regularly updating your security plan is necessary to find the vulnerabilities and risks of your campus. By routinely reassessing security policies and procedures, you can provide the safest environment possible for students and faculty.
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