4 Universities With Innovative Safety Approaches

Written by | Updated October 2, 2013

With a constantly changing society and unpredictable weather patterns, universities across the country also have to change the initiatives they use to keep their campuses secure. Crime prevention is a hot topic on campuses and one that parents and students use to determine which schools to attend.

The following universities have responded to the need for increased security and safety measures on their campuses.

1. East Carolina University

East Carolina University

East Carolina University (ECU) in Greenville, N.C., strives to keep students, faculty, and staff safe from everything from gunmen to hurricanes and the resulting floodwaters that often batter the area.

The East Carolina University Police Department went above and beyond what is expected of most on-campus police departments in 2007 when it became the 39th nationally accredited agency by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). This distinction is held by only three percent of law enforcement agencies in the nation and is a testament to the department’s dedication to being an innovator in campus security and safety.

In keeping with its mission to engage students in campus safety, the ECU Police Department has Student Patrol Officers who patrol the campus, offer after-dark escorts through campus, secure residence halls, and conduct weekly checks on the approximately 100 Emergency Blue-Light Phones located throughout campus.

Not only does ECU offer walking escorts throughout campus, the university also has a SafeRide service that offers free transportation around ECU and Greenville for members of the university community and visitors after the ECU Transit service concludes for the day. SafeRide vans are point-to-point and demand-driven to maximize campus safety.

ECU is also a participant in the national Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) program which is the only International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators endorsed self-defense program. RAD is a free, four-day class taught by certified instructors that provide women with the knowledge and training to make decisions about self-defense. Each RAD student is instructed based on her own personal level of ability, age, strength and experience.

In the event of real or suspected emergency, students, staff, and faculty are alerted via the ECU Alert which uses a combination of email, text, indoor and outdoor speakers, social media, the university’s alert web page, and a PC Pop-up box. ECU is also a National Weather Service Storm Ready University.

2. Clayton State University


At Clayton State University in Marrow, Georgia, safety is approached proactively through the university’s Public Safety Department. The public safety department, comprised of certified public safety officers, communication operators, security guards, and parking patrol, creates crime prevention programs in based on community crime trends or as requested by the university community. The department patrols the campus on foot, bike and in vehicles around the clock. The fully-commissioned police officers participate in continuing firearm and investigative training to maintain certification.

Being proactive in its approach to safety and crime prevention lead the Clayton State University to create its Campus Alert/Watch program, which relies on all members of the university community to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings, and to report suspicious activity or persons to the police. The department also offers many on-campus crime prevention workshops and training seminars.

3. Liberty University

Liberty University

With its on-campus university police department, Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, VA, offers a safe and secure campus for its students, staff, faculty, and visitors. The university police send emergency alerts regarding life threatening situations, hazardous material situations, fire, road closings, school closings, and severe weather via text messages, phone calls, and emails. Members of the campus community can choose which kinds of alerts they receive and where they receive the alerts.
Liberty University is also participates in Rape Aggression Defense training for female students, staff, and faculty members. These 12-hour self-defense classes are taught by certified instructors and arm females with the ability to decide how to handle an attack and how to defend themselves if necessary. Once someone has gone through the training, they can come back each year for a refresher course.

4. New York Institute of Technology–Old Westbury


New York Institute of Technology–Old Westbury’s Office of Campus Security patrols the entire campus 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Campus security provides security officers trained in medical emergencies, and the latest techniques of crime prevention, including fires, bomb threats. The campus security office also offers crime prevention seminars taught to staff and students on a regular basis addressing date rape, subway safety, theft prevention, and much more.

New York Institute of Technology–Old Westbury’s Office of Campus Security created the Campus Alone Program for all members of the campus community to provide security for individuals who are working or studying on campus during nonbusiness hours. The service provides a campus escort after. People who don’t want a campus escort but are concerned about safety during less active campus hours, can call campus security to let them know where they are, when they are leaving, were they are heading, and where they are parked to ensure security is patrolling the area.

In addition to helping keep the campus community safe and secure, the university’s security also assists students, faculty, and staff with jump-starting or unlocking vehicles when owners need assistance with those issues.

While no university campus can eradicate all crime or prevent all unsafe behaviors, some are exceeding the expectations of students and parents and taking a proactive stance on those matters. If your college or university isn’t as progressives as these, this might be the time to address the matter through your school’s governing board.

Written by Nicole Tallman

Nicole is the mom to two precocious girls and is PTA President. She is passionate about the environment and leaving the Earth better than she found it. Learn more

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