How Safe Will My Child Be On Your Campus?

Why institutions need a unified campus security system.

Managing an open campus environment is no easy task. As evidenced by the tragic events of the last number of years, it’s become increasingly clear that such environments are prone to wrongdoing across a number of different crimes. To immediately identify and thwart these problems, many schools are implementing unified campus security systems that include elements like annual security staff training, equipment assessments, record-keeping audits, technology, software, and centralized communication

Campus Security is an Important and Complex Issue for Schools, Parents, and Students Alike
Campus safety ranks high among parents and students as an issue of concern. 75% of parents of high school and college students believe the safety of the campus is an important factor in choosing a college. Safety ranks higher among parents than even academic quality.1 This presents key challenges for security officers who have to manage an open campus environment. Anyone can come and go on campus, and it is very difficult to monitor and maintain a good sense of order.

It Takes Significant Coordination and Planning to Mitigate the Risks
Security personnel and campus police may be a central point, but there’s a significant need to come up with a plan, policies, and procedures that allow them to respond in conjunction with other departments. It’s necessary to put the emergency response, crowd monitoring, and other plans in place to address critical areas. This can be a daunting task in some cases. A panel that meets on a quarterly basis (at minimum) is a good starting point. Rotate leaders on the panel to ensure critical team members stay involved and in the know.


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Tools to Help Ease the Process Are Abundant-Need to be Assessed, Implemented, & Integrated
Audit trails and access control, remote video surveillance, iPhone and iPad apps (that allow police to watch activity from their cruisers or students to contact campus security with ease, for example), and other tools to create a safer environment on campus are all available but you need to ensure they can be integrated for maximum effectiveness. These tools should be implemented with the goal of a unified system across campus. Blackboard Transact, for example, combines three systems into one (campus photo ID credentials (cards/mobile), video surveillance, and door access control) that can “talk” to each other. This creates continuity of evidence across the unified setup and is particularly useful in a court of law, should prosecution be warranted. When they’re working together, these elements go a long way toward developing a unified system that can be relied upon on a daily basis, and in the event of a crisis.

Additional Value Institutions Derive
The biggest benefit your institution gains from a unified security system is the ability to answer the number one question parents ask when they come on campus: “How safe is my child going to be here?” If you can show them the tools you are using-including the access control readers and technology, the secure photo IDs everyone is carrying, the video surveillance cameras and monitoring in place, and so forth-you’ll have recurring enrollment.

When student and administration safety, fast lockdowns, effective visitor management, digital surveillance, and dissemination of panic messages are tied with local law enforcement, the results are both measurable and impressive. The bottom line is this: The more secure a campus is, the safer the students will feel-and be-helping with student retention.

Learn more tips, facts, and best practices to unify your campus security system by downloading the Campus Safety & Security Playbook >

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1Youngblood, Jillian. (Jan. 9, 2015). “Report: What Do Parents Want from Colleges?” Retrieved from


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