Back to school season means if you’re a higher education leader, university safety and security is on your mind. It’s time to think about your campus safety plan. Going away to university can be an exciting time for students. And when students go off to university, their families have an expectation for safety that your school needs to meet.
One report found that in a single school year, 1.4 million crimes were committed in Canadian public schools. Crime on university campuses is trending downward, but there is still a significant number of serious crimes reported. A lapse in security can cause irreparable damage to a school’s reputation. That’s why It’s important now, more than ever, to ensure that your campus has reliable, professional security.
Why is it important to have campus security?
Anywhere that has lots of people coming and going, visiting and working has the need for security. Universities are a place where young people go to blossom into adults. In order to explore what university has to offer, students and their families need campuses to be as safe as possible. This cannot be achieved without the help of a well-trained security staff.
When looking into which universities they might attend, families are going to look at what kind of security measures the school is taking. This can often be a determining factor, especially for students who will be attending universities far away from home. Being away from family can be an intimidating experience and having effective and visible security on campus can help ease any worries students and families may have.
Campus security is crucial in preventing any crime on campus, but it can be particularly helpful in the epidemic of sexual violence that campuses are experiencing. On Canadian campuses one in five women will experience some type of sexual assault. Having security officers available to escort students to and from areas can help make students feel safer. Having security officers clearly visible can also help deter crime all together.
It’s important to acknowledge the human connection these officers can bring to your students. Students report that schools feel safer when security is present. They also report seeing security personnel as mentors and people who they can go to for help.
What are key elements of campus security?
When looking at campus security you should start with your procedures. Do you already have policies that help protect students against crime? This includes theft, assault and homicide. While it may be less stressful to ignore these ugly truths, it won’t keep them from happening. The security professionals at CE Security can help you refine your existing procedures to keep your students safe.
Technology also plays a crucial part in campus security. It is important to have working cameras and security systems in each building. This can make it easier for security and police to identify perpetrators. Just having these security systems visible can even help deter crime all together.
Another important element of campus security is simply having security present. Criminals avoid areas where there is heavy police or security presence. Having security professionals walking around, being visible and interacting with students is going to help bring them a sense of safety. It is also going to let criminals know that diligent professionals are standing by.
Skill and expertise should also be taken into account when considering a security professional. Many companies claim to hire well vetted employees, but doing your research can help you avoid disastrous mistakes. Look for a well established security firm that has testimonials that back up their work. Identify companies who have a history of working with large environments and student populations. This familiarity will ensure that the security you hire knows how to handle situations that may arise in your specific environment.
Here at CE Security, we have decades of combined security expertise and are continuously training and educating ourselves on the latest developments in security technology. But we also understand how important communication is to effective crime prevention, de-escalation of conflicts and general community engagement. Because universities attract a wide array of students, many times traveling from other areas or countries, language can be a barrier. That’s why we work to ensure we have security staff who speak a multitude of languages. If there is a specific language need, reach out to our team to learn if we have security staff who are fluent in a particular language.
What are the dangers of not having enough campus security in Canada?
Families and students expect that universities will keep students safe. This is both reasonable and supported by Canadian law. Laws like Bill 132 aim to hold universities accountable for preventable criminal activity on campus. These kinds of bills require that schools have policies and procedures for identifying, handling and reporting various kinds of criminal activities. If Universities policies aren’t up to snuff, it is likely that they will be held accountable in court.
Outside of legal responsibilities, universities have a moral and ethical obligation to students. Students who attend university are stepping out into adulthood for the first time in their lives. This means that they are not always making the wisest choices when it comes to their own safety. When students are the victims of crime it makes it difficult for faculty and students to feel safe. This is going to affect the quality of education as well as the schools reputation.
If a crime is committed and that crime was preventable through proper security, it can leave everyone wondering if the university really has the students’ best interests in mind.
What should I look for when hiring security?
Look for a firm with years of experience and plenty of reviews and testimonials. You should also look for a security team that is familiar with your type of environment so that they can make sure they hire the right people (and the right amount of them) to keep your university safe.
Is hiring security professionals worth it?
Absolutely. A school’s first priority should be keeping its students safe. Many families look at crime statistics at schools before they decide to send their students off. With more and more laws being passed about transparency in criminal occurrences, these statistics will be required to be public knowledge sooner rather than later. Not having proper security will impact these statistics and the reputation of your university.
Do I need security if my university is in an area with low crime rates?
Even if your area is relatively safe, all types of crime occur everywhere. It’s important that universities don’t let their guard down, even in areas that are affluent, safe or quiet. After all, campus crimes are usually committed by students, not people living in the surrounding areas.
Campus security is something that cannot be pushed to the side. It is just as important as the teachers who are teaching the courses! Luckily, CE Security has the experience and training you’re looking for. Contact us today to discuss hiring dependable security professionals.