By Mary Kate McGrath - September 23, 2019
For campus safety managers the current era represents unprecedented risks ranging from severe weather emergencies to active assailants. This year, students, teachers, and staff may have new concerns about their safety on campus. With recent events, such as Hurricane Florence, which required evacuations on multiple campuses North and South Carolina, and the rise in rates of gun-violence in communities across the United States, it’s understandable that college and university students are worried. For campus safety teams, statistics can provide a realistic understanding of the challenges and risks a college and university campus may face, and there may be a few key ones to take a look at.
Having access to accurate campus safety statistics today is largely due to The Clery Act, which was established back in 1990. According to the Clery Center, the Clery Act aims to provide transparency around both campus crime policy and statistics. The policy requires colleges and universities that receive federal funding to distribute a public annual security report to employees and students every year. The report must include crime statistics from the last 3 calendar years, as well as the college or universities' proven efforts to improve campus safety. In order to comply, campus policy statements in regards to crime reporting, campus facility security and access, law enforcement authority, alcohol and drug use, and the prevention of or response to sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, and stalking all must be disclosed.
In order to comply with Clery reporting, institutions must include four distinct categories of crime reporting. These include criminal offenses, such as robbery, arson, theft, physical and sexual assault; VAWA offenses, such as dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking; hate crimes such as theft, simple assault, or destruction and damage of property, as well as arrests or referrals for disciplinary action, which includes drug or alcohol-related offenses. By outlining reporting measures for college and university officials, students, parents, faculty, as well as prospective students are able to better understand safety outlooks.
Students, faculty, and staff all benefit from the Clery Act as they're easily able to access reliable campus safety statistics. These numbers are extremely valuable for evaluating campus safety issues across the United States.
Between 2001 and 2016, the overall number of reported on-campus crimes decreased by 32 percent, as per the NCES
Campus safety data can help emergency managers develop a big-picture understanding of safety challenges. It's important to evaluate how your individual college and university fits into these, and determine which tools might best address the unique challenges your university faces. After evaluating campus safety statistics, safety managers can create a safety plan in order to manage and mitigate risks. Technology provides a way to address a variety of security concerns, from preventing or mitigating the damage during an active assailant.
For students, campus safety statistics may cause anxiety, and access to safety technology can provide an extra layer of safety. A campus safety app can be a powerful tool for addressing a variety of security concerns. Students traveling across campus at can use the app to set a virtual escort. If they don't arrive at their set destination within the expected time, campus safety teams or local law enforcement will be notified.The app also allows students to connect directly with campus safety teams or local law enforcement. In addition to providing a direct connection to help, the app provides location data to further speed up first response.
It also provides a content portal and directory of resources - if a student, faculty, or staff member is unsure how to seek help in a crisis, this information can be found within the app interface. The app can offer emergency procedures, travel documents, addresses for facilities on campus, and other key resources. A call directory will also be available to students - for example, if a student is having a mental health emergency or has a Title IX concern, they will be able to identify the appropriate contact information for these campus safety resources.
Mary Kate is a content specialist and social media manager for the Rave Mobile Safety team. She writes about public safety for the state & local and education spheres.
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