Important Elements of Campus Safety

by Aliza Katzman | Jul 19, 2016 2:18:41 PM

As an incoming college student, I’m about to immerse myself in an unfamiliar environment and lifestyle. Living communally, whether on campus in dorms with my peers (as I am doing) or off-campus, students will still be spending a large amount of time on school premises. It is thus important to ensure a sense of comfort and security that will enable my college campus to be a viable home and workspace for the next four years as I pursue my education there.

Especially with recent problems of on-­campus assaults, it seems to me that having reliable technology and a firm set of rules (with a zero ­tolerance policy for violence and sexual assault) displays effort on behalf of the institution that goes a long way in creating a comfortable space for everyone.

Methods of prevention and surveillance on behalf of an institution convey the message that someone cares enough about criminal/harmful behaviors enough to install security measures ­which carries with it the implication that there will be consequences for jeopardizing the safety of others. It’s a similar case on college campuses that already have security posts where students, staff, or passerbyers can call for help.

Conceptually it’s an excellent idea, but in the case those posts will actually be used, it’s a situation where failure could have dire consequences.

For this reason it’s most important to me that equipment already on campus is functioning properly. There is nothing more disconcerting than realizing security equipment meant to protect you isn’t actually functioning. Having accidentally pressed “call” buttons for security at the mall before, receiving an error message was a relief at the time; however I realized had I actually been in danger and in need of assistance, the situation would have been terrifying. A lack of security is one thing­ and shows a lack of consideration and responsibility on behalf of the establishment/institution/etc. but unfortunately in this case, the mall had taken security measures­ however their lack of functionality rendered them useless.

Awareness of functioning equipment and thorough security members certainly plays a role in inhibiting dangerous and irresponsible behaviors­ and prevention is always preferable to dealing with something that has already happened. Though ultimately, misconduct and other problematic behaviors that could jeopardize or damage the safety and comfort of students and faculty on campus are impossible to completely prevent while respecting the privacy of community members, I find that efforts by the college/university to enforce safety and security make a significant difference in overall atmosphere.

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