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Security on Campus


It may surprise you to know that college and university campuses are scenes to more than just socializing and learning. All too often, they can also be the scenes of a crime. Awareness of this problem has grown dramatically over the last twenty years, and many institutions are taking appropriate measures to protect their students from malice. Wise parents do not close their eyes to these issues, but discuss them openly with their students. When choosing schools for their sons or daughters, they consider the security programs and features utilized by the schools. You must do all you can to ensure that your student doesn’t get an education they didn’t plan for.

Drugs and Alcohol

Nine out of ten student felonies involve alcohol or drugs. Annually, 1,700 college students die from alcohol-related causes. On their own for the first time, students often feel a surge of independence that can lead to poor decision-making, such as binge drinking. There are many resources available to help parents discuss substance use with their young adult children. Meanwhile, when choosing a school favor institutions with strict policies regarding alcohol and drug abuse, and effective parent-notification. In this way, colleges and universities keep better control of this problem.

Sexual Offenses

Unfortunately, 25% of undergraduate women nationally will be victims of an attempted or completed sexual assault. Many schools have embraced innovative technological solutions in an effort to protect their students. Residence halls that use electronic key-card systems are superior to the ones still using old-fashioned metal locks, and most commons areas of dormitories are now outfitted with video surveillance. At the very least, residence halls should be monitored, and nighttime access should be limited to residents only. Room doors should be equipped with peep holes and dead bolts. Bathrooms are safer when restricted to floor residents. For peace of mind, you may see if single-sex and “substance-free” dormitories are available. Crime is lower in these halls.

Another important deterrent against sexual predators is awareness. Your student should study the campus and neighborhood with respect to routes between his or her residence and classes/activities schedule. Parking lots should be adequately secured, lit and patrolled. Many campuses offer emergency phones, escort services, and shuttle systems so that students should never have to compromise their safety by walking across campus alone after dark. These are free services that have dramatically decreased crime.

Theft

College students are often the target of fraudulent identity-theft and credit card schemes. Make sure your student is savvy about personal information. They should never leave bill payments, credit card offers, health insurance statements, or any personal mail lying around. Instruct them never to give personal information over the phone to any company unless they initiated the call, and they know the company is reputable. Caution students not to give out their social security numbers to obtain credit cards or memberships, and to keep a personal record of all such cards, with expiration dates and company phone numbers in a locked drawer or cabinet. PIN numbers should not be kept in wallets, and should never incorporate birthdates, social security numbers, telephone numbers or addresses.

The Jeanne Clery Act is a federal law that was signed into effect in 1990, requiring colleges and universities to disclose annual information about campus crime and security policies. It is your privilege and right to know these statistics. This law was passed at a great cost. In 1987 Jeanne Clery was raped and murdered in her dorm room by a student with whom she was unacquainted, who had passed through three propped open doors in order to rob dormitory rooms. Knowing they could never bring their daughter back, Mr. and Mrs. Clery demanded safer campuses for future students. More advice regarding security on campus can be found on their outreach site at www.campussafety.org.

Copyright 2006 Rob Daniels

Submitted by:

Rob Daniels

Rob Daniels develops educational material for http://www.security-port.com and http://www.security-protection.net a top resource for locating security related RSS feeds.





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