Looking for a college or university?
These are some general questions that parents and prospective students can ask when evaluating college or university safety and security:
- Does the institution publish its campus crime policies as required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act? If so, obtain a copy of the report. Is the report accurate and complete?
- Is the campus public safety agency adequately resourced (staffing, equipment, budget, etc.)?
- Are the members of the department appropriately trained?
- Is the department empowered to enforce campus policies and/or laws?
- Does the department have a community engagement strategy that allows officers to interact routinely with campus community members?
- Does the campus public safety agency routinely interact with local agencies?
- Are there memorandums of understanding or agreements that outline shared responsibilities?
- Does the institution explore the use of new technologies that can enhance safety and security?
- Does the institution use automated card access, intrusion detection systems, and security video in selected areas to minimize criminal activity and aid in solving crimes?
- Does the institution offer newer technologies, such as those that allow tracking of students in specific situations and personal alarm systems?
- Does the institution have comprehensive, collaborative programs for victims, including advocacy and assistance and counseling programs for troubled students?
- What types of advocacy programs exist on campus to assist students who may be victims of crimes, especially sexual assault?
- Does the campus conduct regular programs intended to inform students and other community members about sexual assault prevention?
- What is the college/university approach to alcohol and other drug abuse problems?
- Does the campus have strict policies and disciplinary sanctions for those who violate campus alcohol and drug rules?
- Does the college/university have alcohol or other drug abuse education programs and counseling services and/or rehab program (or does it make one available to students)?
- Does the university have an emergency management plan and team and does it evaluate institutional response to critical incidents?
- Does the institution have a Crisis Communications Plan and is that plan widely distributed to campus community members?
- Does the campus leverage both high-tech communications protocols, such as mass notification systems and low-tech systems such as sirens, loud speakers, etc?
- Are campus first responders able to communicate with off-campus first responders who are likely to respond to a critical incident on campus?
- Can the administration connect with parents or legal guardians during emergency situations?
In addition to asking these questions, parents and prospective students should consult other sources when evaluating college and university safety and security, including speaking to campus administrators, students, and reviewing other available information on area crime, etc.