There are a lot of reasons to worry about safety when sending your kids to school. Making schools safe for students and teachers has never been on the minds of the American public as much as it has in the aftermath of one school shooting after another.
But these headline-grabbing tragedies are just one reason college campuses across the country are ramping up their security measures to ensure the safety of their students. Here are four colleges that are getting it right when it comes to fostering a crime-free campus.
1. University of Cincinnati
This public research university is taking student safety seriously both on and off campus. In November 2012 University President Santa J. Ono launched the President’s Campus Safety Committee to “reduce crime, promote safe housing and advance public safety on campus and within the surrounding communities.” Since the inception of the committee, campus crime has decreased overall by nine percent.
In August 2013, the “Be Smart. Be Safe.” Initiative was launched. This awareness campaign has already made a difference by helping to get 93 new streetlights installed, adding security cameras to high crime areas and partnering with the city of Cincinnati Fire Department on the Cincinnati Safe Student Housing Program. This program was initiated by the parents of four UC students who died in an off-campus housing fire in early 2013, and is designed to help students find housing that meets all fire safety regulations and encourage landlords to keep buildings up to code.
2. Carleton College
Just because it’s small doesn’t mean this private liberal arts college nestled in the historic town of Northfield, Minnesota isn’t big when it comes to keeping their students safe. Carleton has an undergraduate enrollment of around 2,000 students and the college operates with a full-fledged Department of Security Services that works to ensure students feel safe walking the campus at all hours by providing regular patrols and campus-wide security alerts.
The department also offers a wide range of public safety services from dealing with medical and fire emergencies to conducting investigations and providing education on crime prevention. Students, faculty and staff can also sign up for a free email and text messaging service that is activated in the event of an on-campus security emergency.
3. Cedarville University
Safety is a top priority for this Christian university located in southwest Ohio. Cedarville University was ranked as the fourth safest campus in the nation by College Prowler. It’s easy to see why with reviews from students like this, “Campus Safety is great and always patrolling to maintain safety.” The college boasts a professional Campus Safety and Security organization that leads the charge when it comes to providing a safe, secure environment for all students, staff and faculty.
Top initiatives from Cedarville’s security organization include active shooter response planning, and an emergency information website that provides real-time updates that can be accessed by any mobile device and even parents who may be across the country. The site also provides links to all resident and non-resident fire evacuation plans as well as FAQs about what to do in the event of any emergency from weather to a terrorist attack.
4. High Point University
Set on a sprawling 320 acres, High Point University has a lot of ground to cover when it comes to campus safety. Thanks to a campus security program that is augmented by the High Point Police Department as well as a professional security force, High Point has a good track record for keeping its campus and its inhabitants from harm. This is just one reason this private college located outside Winston-Salem, North Carolina was ranked the top Regional College by “U.S. News & World Report.” Security at the university includes 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, restricted access to dorms, well-lighted paths, sidewalks and parking lots as well as a late night transport/escort service that will make sure your son or daughter arrives safely.
Do you have a college or university in your area that has notable safety initiatives? Let us know and we may cover them in a future campus safety piece!
Written by Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca has honed her safety and security skills as both a single mom and a college director. Being responsible for the well-being of others helped her learn how to minimize risk and create safe environments. Learn more