“Schools should be places of safety and sanctuary of learning and when that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community.” These were words of former United States president Bush after the Virginia Tech attack. In the past two decades, there have been deep claims on the issue of safety in college campuses. There have been dreadful events, such as the Virginia Tech shooting which claimed a total of thirty-two lives. Up to 25 % of female students are always being raped in the course of their study in colleges and other institution of higher education. This has led to many parents ranking the safety of an institution among the important factors while selecting an institution for their young adults besides location, costs, and ranking. Despite these growing trends of insecurity in colleges, several measures need to be put in place in order to ensure safety within colleges to deal with the claims of insecurity. Increasing the physical security and close coordination between security agents are vital in ensuring college safety. In as much as these measures are established, the utmost responsibility lies with the students ensure their own safety.
One of the main security preventive mechanisms is to increase physical security through a number of systems. According to a research conducted by Beggar, all visitors on the institution premises should have a separate identification, which they should put on while on campus (Begar 124). In addition, the institutions should limit access to their premises and other properties by baring all unchecked entrances. All visitors should also be subjected to report to the colleges’ main entrances checkpoints (Begar 125). Security personnel should also be assigned to keep an eye to all the perimeters of college walls and provide an instant communication in the event they detect strange movements. Colleges also need to carry out routine security inspection both inside and outside campuses, and report any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities (Triplett, Trulson & Snell 578). Walk through metal detectors need to be introduced in the institutions premises; both handle held and weapon screening for security detection of strange materials and other harmful equipments. Surveillance cameras installation is another physical security measure that has to be installed in colleges for inspection purposes. According to a research conducted, it is reported that medium size institutions of higher learning have installed at least 25 surveillance cameras in different buildings premises (“Security Toughens” 4).
There should also be a close cooperation between law enforcing officers and private security agencies in charge of security in the institutions according to Beggar. There must be a police officer or security personnel in all institutions all the time. Their roles should be conducting regular patrols, helping with carrying out investigations of students who break security rules, performing searches, and arresting students who commit crimes (Begar 126). Security guards located in colleges need to recognize hot spots in the campuses that are vulnerable to harmful occurrences, such as property damage, crimes, and physical violence. According to the research by Elli, the places could vary, for instance, halls, cafeteria, or the parking lots (Ellis 107). In the event that security personnel make routine rounds in these places, some measurable amounts of harm can be avoided. This means that the security personnel are required to be at the right place at the right time (Begar 128), and in instances where they are confronted with crimes, they need to respond adequately (Ellis n.p). The police should help in conducting searches on students and other parties due to the authority the carry along. These can be done by using sniffer dogs and other means, especially when searching for weapons, drugs alcohol or stolen property. Police searches are vital because they can be random at any particular moment with or without cause (“Touhens” 6).
Even though the above measures and equipments will be put in place to ensure the security of colleges is enhanced, the eventual conscientiousness of security lies with college students and other inside staff. It is crucial for them to develop practices and instincts that lessen their security and be supported by security measures above.
Many young adults joining colleges fall prey to walking into a rush of the unknown, such as going to parties or studying during late night times. Having mechanisms to enhance security within colleges are vital to ensure their safety. Establishing physical security systems and having a close relationship within different security agents in colleges is important to boost the security system. Students taking responsibility is an important element in ensuring the measures are effective. Security and safety within learning institutions and all other places lies in the hands of all the people around and supported by equipment and policies. Working under that collaboration will help to make colleges safe for learning
Beger, Randall R. “Expansion of police power in public schools and the vanishing rights of students.” Social Justice. Alt-Press Watch. Print. (2002): 119-130. 29, 1/2
Haynes, Richard, A., and Catherine L. Henderson. Essential Strategies for School Security: A Practical Guide for Teachers and School Administrators. Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd., 2600 South First Street, Springfield, IL 62704 (hardcover: ISBN-0-398-07177-2. 2001. Security toughens as school kids return this year. Corporate Security, 27.15(2001): 1-7.
Trulson, Chad, Ruth, Triplett, and Clete Snell. “Social control in a school setting: Evaluating a school-based boot camp.” Crime & Delinquency 47.4 (2001): 573-609.