Close to 13.6 million college students across the country have already begun their trip to college. No matter if the school is large or small, crime is still something every student, school staff member, or campus law enforcement officer should be aware of, because crime can happen to anyone. Crime prevention on a college campus, as it is anywhere, should be everyone’s business. If you don’t work to prevent crime then you could be the next victim.
The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) has been working with campus law enforcement across the country to arm them with information on crime prevention. Topics include crime prevention: evolution to current trends; crime prevention through environmental design; campus crime prevention programs, including assaults and violence, drugs and alcohol, sexual crimes, campus thefts, vandalism, and campus crime watch; your role in the emergency response system; modern crimes and issues; and crime prevention resources. Unfortunately, with some students engaging in binge drinking and other dangerous types of behavior, it is necessary for campuses to be aware of all these topics. Aside from learning from classes offered by NCPC, it is also necessary that campus law enforcement personnel work to make a connection with students in a nonconfrontational manner so that they can be viewed as not just an authority figure, but as a resource. It is also important for law enforcement-community partnerships to be made with on- and off-campus establishments, businesses, and student groups.
Students and school staff should not rely on campus law enforcement to prevent crime. Each person has their own role in crime prevention. School personnel should develop effective security procedures and disciplinary policies, be open to and encourage student-led solutions, and work with students, law enforcement, local government, and people from the community to address larger safety issues. There are many ways that students can be involved in crime prevention too. Students should not be afraid to meet with campus law enforcement, voice their concerns, report incidents that they witness, or give their ideas to staff and law enforcement. Students should get involved in campus crime prevention first-hand by starting watch groups in their dorm, apartment complex, or other off campus housing. Drugs and alcohol have a large impact on crime on college campuses; thus students should be educated about the effects they can have on you, your awareness to surroundings, and your judgment.
As students, don’t be afraid to talk to staff and law enforcement, make suggestions, or get involved. Staff and law enforcement should be keen to listen to ideas and work for new solutions to their campus’ problems. If students, staff, and law enforcement can effectively work together there is a much better chance that your campus can be safe. For more information on campus security, visit www.ncpc.org or email McGruff.