A Look at Security for Higher Education
published on November 02, 2017 by Jon Ecker
The stats, challenges, and solutions on campus security
If there's one word that defines higher education, it might be “preparation.” Students attend to gain the insight, skill and practical experience that will help them secure a future. It's the responsibility of every higher education (HE) campus to ensure the physical and emotional safety of their students as they make their way toward that future. To do this, security preparation is a must. In this blog, we'll take a look at why security is essential, how it specifically applies to a college campus, and which methods work best to keep our students safe.
Some on-campus crime statistics
In the last few years, there have been tens of thousands of crimes on campus. Burglaries made up half of all crimes, with sexual assault accounting for 25% of the figures. Motor vehicle theft contributed 11%, with robbery and aggravated assault accounting largely for the remainder. Hate crimes like intimidation, vandalism, assault, damage to property, larceny, and arson also occur in the hundreds.
The most recent statistics for four institutions in New York via the U.S. Department of Education's Campus Safety and Security website show that there were a total of 43 criminal offenses (consisting of robbery, aggravated assault, rape, burglary and motor vehicle theft), 4 incidents of dating violence, 10 incidents of stalking, and a combined 167 arrests for substance abuse, leading to over 900 disciplinary actions.
The unique demands of a college campus – understanding security legislation
Under the Clery Act, campuses and universities in receipt of federal funding are required to publish an annual security report making clear their crime statistics for that year and the three previous years. Incidents like substance abuse, dating violence, and encounters with law enforcement and campus security must be catalogued, and access to these stats made available every October 1st.
There is further legislation designed to secure the rights of students to a safe and secure education, from fighting sexual assault under Title IX to complying with the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act. In order to effectively enforce these legislative requirements, a campus must have the kind of security designed to stop crime from occurring or one that can provide solid evidence after the fact.
The unique demands of a college campus – implementing security
A college campus is a big place spanning multiple buildings. Every structure will have multiple access points; entryways which will need to be monitored and controlled to prevent trouble getting through the door. Here's how POM Technologies does it:
- Multi-functional cards: Utilizing access control measures, POM technologies ensures that entry to any area of campus is under your control. Cloud-linked security allows for hundreds of thousands of cardholders across many different buildings and campuses. Systems can provide real-time connectivity to your doors, native threat management, and dynamic event and alarm reporting. Cards may even be tailored to allow purchases in the bookstore or dining halls, as well as to act as verifiable ID.
- Wireless locks: Wireless and Wi-Fi electronic locks can be connected to your wireless or wired network and easily used to identify cardholders and control access rights for a fraction of the price of traditional access control.
- Strategic camera placement: Well-placed monitoring equipment keeps a watchful eye on the campus, inside and out. Cameras allow for remote access and retrievable footage via a mobile device, allowing round-the-clock connection to every camera. Environment-adaptable cameras with high resolution surveillance can be integrated with access control, intercoms, and alarm points to maximize security.
Managed Services: Interactive and customizable managed services incorporate safeguards such as remote monitoring (an off-site security team that can monitor and manage entries, exits, and activity at your location), video alarm verification (confirming the legitimacy of issues as they arise), and the ability for staff to access school footage in real time through Internet connected and mobile devices.
All these features can be controlled from a central location to monitor a campus of any size.
Further campus security resources
Higher education administrators can read the Clery Act in full via this Federal Register resource, as well as benefit from membership resources from the Clery Center. Affiliated institutions gain access to training, informational materials, and qualified assessments that improve safety on campus.
The Violence Against Women Act is also a valuable source of information; one which expands upon the Clery Act and can help campuses better protect female students. The “Not Alone” initiative provides further resources and information through the U.S. Department of Justice.
The National School Safety Center also offers a number of worthwhile resources (both free and subscription) alongside leadership training and other school security insights. If you can make it to Orlando, Florida next Summer then you can attend the 13th Annual National School Safety Conference and Exposition, America's largest event covering every aspect of educational security.
POM Technologies offers a free download on how a qualified security integrator handles security on campus.
Partner with an experienced security integrator
It's vital that higher education campuses are secured in every possible way and understand how new technology can assist in securing their campuses. For a full appraisal of the unique needs of your campus, call POM Technologies at (212) 688-2767, email at [email protected], or complete this contact form for a free consultation.