As students return to class, so does campus crime. The good news is that, according to the Department of Education, on-campus burglaries and robberies as a whole have been in a steady decline since 2007; and part of that trend is due to the increase of technological advances in campus safety technology. Remote visual surveillance company Netwatch USA, with campus safety expertise across four continents, today announced eight tips to curb campus crime as students return to school for the fall 2012 semester.
“The Clery Act has prompted many reforms over the past few decades, but we still have lots of work to do,” says former Boston Police Commissioner and Netwatch board member Kathleen O’Toole. “Students are sometimes vulnerable, which makes them targets for criminals. To counteract this trend, effective monitoring can be a great campus security asset for a wide range of attacks – from physical assault to property crime.”
Remote surveillance company Netwatch has prevented countless campus crimes including vandalism and theft. Here are some tips from CEO David Walsh to help campus safety officials keep students, faculty, and administrators safe as the 2012 school year begins.
• Educate students. Make sure all students are aware of current security procedures. For example, do you have a mobile text alert system? If so, send out campus-wide notices to make sure students, faculty and administrators know what to do in a case of emergency.
• Assess outdoor lighting. Ensure that all corners of your campus are well-lit. Students will be walking through at all hours of the night, and well-lit pathways are less attractive to potential criminals.
• Keep areas open. More trees and bushes make it easier for criminals to hide and avoid being seen by cameras.
• Register all guests. In Netwatch’s experience, most crimes on campus are committed by guests of students; not students themselves. By registering all guests, campus officials will have an easier time tracking who is on campus, where they are, when they arrived and when they left.
• Foster an effective “town and gown” partnership. By creating a solid relationship with the local town police force, campus police can have a greater chance of effectively responding to a serious emergency on campus.
• Never respond to an alarm alone. Have a fellow security official with you or have campus police meet you there.
• Take advantage of technology. In this day and age, cameras can do some pretty amazing things like license plate identification and thermal imaging. These types of abilities can not only help catch intruders and vandals once they’ve committed a crime, but can also assist in preventing the crime from happening in the first place.
• Evaluate current security procedures. Bring in experts to find out if your security plans are up to snuff and to ensure they are as cost-effective and prevent crime as well then can. There are new products and systems constantly coming out on the market.
“With today’s technological capabilities, crime prevention has reached a whole new level,” says Walsh. “By combining physical security measures such as guards, emergency phone stations and video surveillance with IT solutions like video analytics and object detection, we’re able to prevent incidences – not just react to them – and campus crime rates will continue to drop.”