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Campus safety and security: Why it’s important

Campus safety and security: Why it’s important
Campus safety and security is important because they are conducive to students’ pursuit of academic excellence. A safe and secure campus environment allows students to learn and excel without fear or concerns.
Colleges and universities attach great importance to campus safety and security. A safe and secure campus environment allows students to learn and excel without fear or concerns. Threats to campus safety and security, meanwhile, underscore the need for security solutions that can help campuses stay safe and secure.

Why is campus safety and security important

Campus safety and security is important because they are conducive to students’ pursuit of academic excellence. Indeed, for students to excel academically, they must stay focused on their studies. It’s hard to stay focused when students constantly feel threatened or unprotected.
“Campus safety and security are vital for creating an environment beneficial to learning. Students cannot focus on their studies if they feel unsafe or threatened, and parents entrust schools with their children's wellbeing, so it's the school's responsibility to prioritize a safe living and learning environment,” said Brad Cary, Business Development Manager for Education at Milestone Systems.
“Campus safety and security are essential for creating a conducive learning environment where students, faculty, and staff feel protected and supported. A secure campus allows individuals to focus on their academic and professional responsibilities, leading to improved performance and engagement. It also contributes to better mental health by reducing anxiety and stress associated with potential threats,” said John Centofanti, VP of Sales for U.S. at Axxonsoft.
Meanwhile, with student enrollment becoming more competitive, colleges and universities must provide a positive campus experience to attract more students. Safety and security play a central role in that effort.
“Institutions know that providing safe and welcoming learning environments – secure, well-run campuses – is a crucial part of their offering,” said Jamie Barnfield, Senior Sales Director of IDIS Europe. “When it comes to choosing study destinations, prospective students and their families consistently say that safety is one of their top-three considerations. For this reason, universities are very focused on this issue. A major incident, if handled badly, can do lasting damage to a university’s reputation.

Threats to campus safety and security

Unfortunately, there are threats that undermine campus safety and security. These threats range from relatively minor misdemeanors to major security incidents.
“[Potential threats] include day-to-day risks which, although routine, can still be highly disruptive or even life-threatening if not dealt with efficiently – most obviously medical emergencies, accidents, fires or floods, sudden extreme weather events and natural disasters. More extreme threats must be planned for too and do sometime occur – including terrorist attacks and threats, active shooter events (mainly in the U.S.), sexual assaults and harassment,” Barnfield said.
“Universities must contend with hate crimes and bias incidents, where diversity on college campuses can sometimes lead to incidents of discrimination, harassment, or violence targeting specific groups; sexual assault and harassment, with sexual violence on college campuses remaining a significant concern; and mental health crises, where the high-stress environment of college can exacerbate mental health issues among students. Universities must be prepared to identify and respond to mental health emergencies, which can sometimes escalate into security incidents,” Cary said.
Centofanti also cites mental health issues as undermining campus safety and security. “The rising incidence of mental health crises among students, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies, necessitates comprehensive support systems and crisis intervention strategies. The American College Health Association's 2021 survey found that 48 percent of college students reported moderate to severe psychological distress,” he said.

What solutions are needed to keep campuses safe and secure

The aforementioned threats and challenges highlight the need for solutions that can boost campus safety and security.
“Campuses constantly need to adapt their security measures to different priorities. Whether hosting a conference, regional sporting event, or managing student protests, a security system should support proactive responses by providing real-time control and a complete view of the facilities. The ability to prepare for but also react to changing security conditions at a moment’s notice is essential in delivering a quicker, more effective response,” said Bruce Canal, Executive Lead for Education at Genetec.
“Universities need to be prepared for natural disasters and environmental hazards, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fires, and chemical spills. Common security issues like theft, vandalism, and property damage require effective surveillance and preventive measures; according to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were about 27,300 criminal incidents reported on college campuses in 2018. Additionally, the threat of terrorism and extremism poses significant risks, necessitating vigilance and proactive measures to ensure campus security. By addressing these contemporary threats, universities can create a safer, more secure environment that supports the well-being and success of their academic community,” Centofanti said.
That said, below are some of the campus security solutions that can help keep campuses safe and secure:
  • Video surveillance and analytics
  • Access control/lockdown systems
  • Intercoms/panic buttons
  • Gunshot detection/audio analytics
  • Emergency/security management platforms
  • Metal detectors connected to video management platforms
  • Bulletproof doors at entrances and classroom doors
We take a closer look at these solutions in an upcoming article.

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