Data + Experience + Common Sense = a Safer Campus

A combination of all three should be incorporated during assessments.

It is interesting how different people evaluate campus safety. Some people are very data driven, others take an approach based more on their observations flavored by their experiences, and others are heavily driven by their common sense or “gut” reactions to perceived safety concerns. 

Perhaps it is too easy to forget that each of these methods of evaluating safety, security and emergency preparedness have their place as long as we achieve an appropriate balance.  For example, while it is easy to dismiss “gut” feelings as unscientific, the experiences of organizations that utilize pattern recognition in an evidence based manner have sometimes revealed that this approach to assessment can sometimes be as accurate and even more accurate as more analytical approaches.   

By blending these and other various approaches in proper balance to assess risk for their organizations, campus safety professionals may be able to provide more accurate and precise evaluation and thus better match available resources to actual needs.

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About the Author


Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a global non profit campus safety center. During his 30 year campus safety career, Michael has served as a university police officer, corporal, sergeant and lieutenant. He served as a school system police chief for ten years before being appointed the lead expert for the nation's largest state government K-20 school safety center. The author of 25 books on school safety, his work has taken him to Central America, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia, South Africa and the Middle East. Michael welcomes comments, questions or requests for clarification at [email protected]. Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.

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