Annie Le’s death at Yale puts spotlight on campus security…

August 21, 2011

Video surveillance cameras, live cameras monitored 24/7 and official warnings that can be blasted in seconds to tens of thousands via email, cell phone text messages and Facebook. Campus security is more sophisticated than ever, but college officials say they still can’t absolutely guarantee the safety of their students.

“That is impossible,” says Melissa Essary, dean of the Campbell Law School in Raleigh, NC. “There will always be criminals out there who can get away from the best security system.”

Since the Virginia Tech killings, schools around the country have beefed up security substantially, she says. Her school has just one public entrance, staffed full time by a security officer. But a potentially dangerous situation could erupt from within, she says.   “There are potential inside threats as well as outside threats,” Essary says.

Though many colleges have surveillance cameras, only some are live while others are recording devices that would only be examined after the fact, not when a crime is actually occurring.

Student security isn’t only the responsibility of the college, says John Carroll, head of safety and security for all three Fordham campuses. “It is a shared responsibility for the individual, for campus security,  and for the police department,” he says. “I’m sure I speak for my peers at other schools when I say that we will all take a strong look at the Yale incident just like we took a look at Virginia Tech to make sure we are doing everything humanly possible to protect our students.”

Fordham can text, voice and email all 15,000 students in seconds, he says, and a year and a half ago, when an emotionally disturbed person crashed through the gates, the college was able to warn everyone to stay away from the library, where the man, armed with a gun, was headed. “We contained the man and we were able to let everyone know,” Carroll says.

At Pratt Institute, security officers patrol the campus on foot, by car, and on bikes. There are hundreds of closed circuit TV cameras, emergency phones in campus buildings and outdoors, and a strictly enforced card-access only policy to the residence halls, according to William Schmitz, Pratt’s director of safety and security.

Many colleges are starting to use Facebook and Twitter to get out warnings to students, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Their goal is to use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to reach as many students as possible as quickly as possible, according to the Sentinel.   The sites offer yet another way to communicate news to students. University of Florida is testing an indoor speaker system that uses Voice Over Internet Protocol, according to the Sentinel, in which announcements can be heard in almost all classrooms.

Still, officials say, it’s impossible to say that a college will always be completely safe.

“A college or university campus is a microcosm of our society,” Schmitz says. “While campus safety and security departments are invested in and committed to safeguarding campuses and students to the fullest extent possible, unfortunately crimes may still may occur.”

The reality of one’s safety and protection ultimately lies within one’s self, never rely upon another individual, staff or a college for you or your daughter’s safety.

Our children/daughters often never learn “life skills” to get them through life.  “Life skills” must be taught to every female of every age.  It’s not being paranoid, it’s about being smart and having tools in your toolbox (mentally and physically) to rely upon.  Learning about awareness, gut instincts and the smell of potential danger can save one’s life.

PREVENTION IS THE ANSWER!

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Contributor in part: NYDailyNews

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  1. August 21, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    Right on, Amy! Great post! This fits in nicely with my former “novelette” “Academia Gone Wrong: Recipe for Disaster.” Keep up the proactive work that you do!

    Donna/Ladyjustice

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