Maintaining Campus Security During Winter Break

USC Chief John Thomas describes how his school maintains campus security during the holidays.

It’s that time of year again when college students are just about to go on winter break, and probably the last thing on their minds is campus security. Many are in the process of taking their finals, as well as packing up their belongings to go home for several weeks. Some have chosen to remain on campus during the break.

Although most students are taking a breather, university police and campus security departments must remain vigilant, but how?

How should university public safety officials keep students who chose to stay on campus safe and secure? What information should be communicated to them, particularly international students who often stay on campus over the holidays?

And what about the students who go away? How can the campus keep their vehicles and belongings secure? What can these students do themselves to protect their belongings, even if they live off-campus?

Campus public safety department staffing issues should also be addressed. Most agencies can probably expect fewer radio calls during the holidays, so should a department reduce the number of officers patrolling campus, or should it remain fully staffed? Should a department change its patrol focus, such as ensuring all empty buildings are locked to prevent crimes of opportunity?

Communications and relationships are always key, so should campus public safety departments also partner with campus administrators and student affairs about winter break campus security as well?

Every college campus is unique, so every university’s approach to campus security should be unique as well.

Campus Safety spoke with University of  Southern California (USC) Department of Public Safety Chief John Thomas about the various strategies USC takes to keep students and property protected during the holidays. Can your college apply these campus security strategies?

Have a safe and happy holiday season from all of us at Campus Safety!

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