Campus Safety Measures Part I: Technology Supporting Institutions and Establishments

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Public safety belongs on the streets, but it also belongs where we sleep, eat, study and watch. Safety, security and liability guide many decisions at private institutions that serve the general public. From college campuses to hotel-casino properties and shopping-entertainment malls, private groups coordinate with public services to provide a safe environment for all participants. Authorities enforce their safety standards through essential technology that meets security criteria.

Evaluating Campus Safety

According to Campus Safety Magazine, there are seven categories of safety goals within a facility: environment, reputation, response, liability, awareness, perception and behaviors. When choosing equipment – especially public safety technology – it’s essential that they meet priorities and maximize possibilities within and across these categories.

Campus safety also depends on the primary responsibilities of the institution. For public safety officials, the most urgent tasks are the prevention of, and protection from, threats to public order and property; personal well-being and property; and community security. However, colleges may prioritize community security and then personal well-being whereas malls may value personal property and public order overall. Obviously, all concerns receive attention, but campus safety technology may be installed in order of importance.

The Seven Criteria for Campus Safety

  1. Environment- This category encompasses all measures that maintain a healthy, safe environment or background setting. This evaluation is concerned with fundamental “infrastructure” and crises such as medical emergencies. A secure environment sets the minimum effectiveness of all other measures. A back-up generator or AED are technology tools that ace the environment criterion.
  2. Reputation- Reputation concerns public safety choices for which people would “know” or laud a safety team. Institutions need highly visible and super effective safety measures to ensure their reputation remains intact. For example, hand-held radios updated with the latest specs enhance reputation because their officers would be known for quick and reliable communication in all situations.
  3. Response- This category evaluates how well safety technology maintains or improves the ability for public safety services such as police, fire and medical to respond to an emergency or other notable event. It also includes critical analysis of private response to crises. A hardened dispatch system with multi-functional communications would rank well for response.
  4. Liability- Liability is less about how safe a tool makes the public, but how much the tool makes the department safe. The liability criterium also includes understanding how well a technology protects people from mishandling or corruption. Big data collection tools, like cameras, help keep departments accountable and free of liability.
  5. Awareness- This aspect evaluates shows how well a security force knows everything that is going on, from risk factors to campus needs and ongoing emergencies. Awareness is frequently tied to communication and lenses of observation; as well, it is more related to environment and non-person concerns. Distributed panic buttons in case of emergency, dedicated phone lines and other alert systems help with awareness.
  6. Perception- Perception is all about how safe the individual or public feels in the safety net provided by the institution or campus. The safer someone feels despite criminal or other activity, the better the perception standard. Devices that meet these standards create the appearance of security and include things like two-step authorization, keycard locking systems or surveillance that alerts for major events.
  7. Behaviors- Behaviors is an abstract category tied to awareness. However, it broadly encompasses any security measure that helps keep human behaviors in line or evaluates behaviors present in a space. Technology evaluated under behaviors tends to be preventive or observational, such as training, surveillance or barriers.

Three Areas for Safety Technology Upgrades

It’s nearly impossible to satisfy every single criterion for public safety. The criteria also exist as a general guideline that may vary across scenarios. Perception matters less at highly visible places such as the mall, but much more at trust-based institutions such as universities where students live. Due to this variability and general feasibility, compromise and acuity must lead safety operations.

However, among public-private campuses, environment, response and liability remain core public safety criteria. Satisfying these requirements is the foundation of healthy campus safety and contribute to all other categories. Moreover, these criteria overlap with government-funded public safety, which elevates their importance. Fortunately, these are the systems and measures with some of the best innovations available.

Technological upgrades are easy solutions to bolster and improve campus safety. Since privately held technology must not limit public services, interoperability is a major concern for tech upgrades. Legacy security systems can be integrated with new innovations to update comprehensive security plans. Moreover, with the rapid advancements, reliability and durability associated with safety technology entering the market, tech upgrades offer long-term solutions across needs and platforms.

Campus Safety Technology and Use Cases

Check out our blog “Three Campus Safety Technology Use Cases,” part two of our exploration of how new technology is supporting public spaces beyond public safety’s control. In this blog, we learn more about how Big Data – and it’s partner IIoT – along with industrial computing and digital communications help private organizations secure their spaces for the public.