Whether you’re a parent sending your firstborn off to college or an undergrad moving into the dorms and living on your own, campus safety is important to think about when selecting your college.
It’s crucial to find a school with a good safety track record, a staffed security department and well-established emergency and security procedures in place.
To make your search easier, here’s the 411 on four of the country’s safest college campuses.
1. Gordon College
Ranked as one of the top Christian liberal arts colleges in the country, this small college community just outside of Boston is also well-regarded for its commitment to keeping its students, staff and faculty safe. With a full-time Department of Public Safety, there is a constant security presence at Gordon that provides late night escorts, 24-hour vehicle and foot patrols, emergency telephones and assistance to students who have either locked themselves out of their cars or need a jump.
And the Department seems to be doing a stellar job. The campus had no reported assaults, sex offenses or murders in 2011 or 2012. In fact, Gordon College didn’t report any vehicle break-ins or robberies for those years either. But the college is committed to more than crime prevention. The Environmental, Health and Safety Office also works to ensure fire safety, provide emergency medical services and educate staff, faculty, students and visitors about other aspects of personal and environmental safety.
2. Mansfield University of Pennsylvania
Mansfield University is located in the quaint borough of Mansfield, Pennsylvania and has come a long way from the small, classical seminary that welcomed its first students in 1857. As one of 14 state universities in the keystone state, Mansfield consistently makes the safety of its students a top priority. Through a commitment to its four core values: character, scholarship, culture and service, and the dedication of the Mansfield University Police Department, the university has maintained a commendable safety record.
The University Police Department is focused on safety awareness and crime prevention first and foremost, taking responsibility to ensure that all members of the campus community remain safe to live, learn and work. In fact, this is the only university department that is staffed 24/7. In addition to round-the-clock patrols, police services include Community Concern Programs, Crisis Situation Programs, Drug and Alcohol Awareness, and Operation ID.
3. Ursuline College
It’s understandable that women’s colleges would place emphasis on campus safety and security. As one of the oldest women’s colleges in the country, Ursuline University has had a lot of practice creating and maintaining an environment conducive to the well-being of students, staff and faculty. Ursuline College Security is a collaborative department made up of college staff and private security personnel provided by Willo Security. Campus security is on patrol 24 hours a day to provide escort services, vehicle services and an anonymous tip line for reporting suspicious or criminal behavior.
StateUniversity.com ranked Ursuline as the seventh safest college campus in 2013, compared to 450 other universities. From 2010 to 2012, there were no rapes, aggravated assaults, robberies or murders reported on Ursuline’s suburban Ohio campus. The intimate nature of this small, Catholic university might be a contributor to the low incidence of crime on campus, with a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. It definitely makes a difference when professors and staff know students by name rather than just as a sea of faces in large lecture halls.
4. Bethel University
Priding itself on being a comprehensive, interdenominational Christian university, Bethel University and its students work to make a difference for others both on campus and in the Twin Cities metro area of Minnesota. With a university-wide commitment to community outreach, the Bethel Office of Security and Safety has its work cut out for it. The goal of maintaining a safe and secure Bethel community is supported by a full range of services provided 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
Safety and security programs at Bethel include crime investigation, emergency response, crime awareness education, parking control and special event security. All security personnel are specially trained to answer calls for service, dispatch officers and monitor all campus alarms including fire, environmental and intrusion. An extra layer of security is provided between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. when the east entrance to the campus is closed and the west entrance is manned by a security officer who monitors all campus comings and goings.
If your current school, or the one you’re looking to attend, has great safety initiatives, please let us know. We’d love to feature them on our next safest campuses list!