Real Cops Real Crime Real Advice
Being Safe on Campus !
By John W. Kolberg
At long last you graduated high school and have selected a college or university to continue your education. Congratulations! You are entering a very important and exciting time. The decisions you make in the next few years will impact your entire life. Perhaps you will be attending a large state university or a private school. Maybe you will be commuting to community college or a technical school. Whatever institution you elected to attend, SafetyCops want you to take a minute to consider your personal safety while on campus.
College and university campuses have traditionally provided a special environment in which young people can explore ideas and learn about the world. One important lesson that institutions of higher education can communicate to all students is that violence will not be tolerated. Creating a safe and supportive campus community is both an obligation and challenge for college and university administrators, faculty and staff, students, and other campus personnel.
Sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking are serious and widespread problems on college and university campuses. Sexual assault is the second most common violent crime committed on college campuses, with most perpetrators being students known to the victim. Half of all these sexual assaults occur in the victim's residence, with an additional one-third taking place in off-campus student housing, such as fraternities. While there is current attention to the use of "rape drugs" to facilitate sexual assault, alcohol continues to play an important role in campus-related assaults.
In response to these disturbing realities, an increasing number of residential and community colleges are implementing campus-wide responses to violence designed to coordinate victim services, campus law enforcement, health services, campus housing, student organizations, and disciplinary boards. Effective intervention and prevention programs stress perpetrator accountability for sexual and physical violence, call attention to bystander behavior, highlight the prevalence and impact of acquaintance rape and dating violence as well as stalking and clearly define the role that campus communities can play in ending violence.
In addition to these efforts by school officials, student can do much to enhance their security both on and off campus. The following safety tips were provided courtesy of Security On Campus, Inc. (SOC). This organization has dedicated itself to increasing student awareness of their own safety, as well as lobbying for legislation mandating colleges and universities address student safety on campus. Their excellent website is located at www.campussafety.org . Read more about SOC at the end of this article.
Campus Safety Tips
Campus Safety Evaluation
SERIOUS QUESTIONS TO ASK ADMISSIONS DEPARTMENT AND DEAN OF STUDENTS:
Q:Does the institution publish campus crime information as required by The Jeanne Clery Act? (Request a copy)
Q:Do the annual crime statistics include reports to the dean's office, judicial hearings, women's rape/crisis centers?
Q:Are Security Logs open for public inspection?
Q:Does the school ask applicants if they have been arrested and convicted of a crime? Do they admit applicants with a criminal history?
Q:Are campus crime policies and penalties explicitly addressed during orientation, as well as prominently stipulated in the student handbook?
Q:Are drinking, drug, and weapon laws strictly enforced?
Q:Are bathroom doors in coed dorms secured with master locks for floor residents?
Q:Are single sex and "substance free" dormitories available?
Q:Does the school address the entire student body during the academic year about growing problems related to campus crime: date rape and sexual assault, alcohol and drug abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases? When? Who addresses the students?
Q:Does the school have an open judicial committee? How many and what type of cases did the judicial committee handle last year?
Q:Does the school provide immediate medical, psychological, and legal aid to victims, as required by Federal Law ?
Repeat similar questions to the Campus Security Dept. and the Women's Rape/Crisis Center. Then compare responses and figures. Schools with aggressive crime reporting and a low tolerance for criminal behavior provide safer environments where students can focus on their educational goals.
Copyright @ 2000 Security On Campus, Inc. Re-printed with permission.
For More Information Check The Following Resources
The DOE Campus Security Statistics Website is your direct link to reported criminal offenses for over 6000 colleges and universities in the United States. If you are thinking of attending college in a large urban city, a small liberal arts college, a specialized college, or a community college you can find their security statistics here.
Security On Campus, Inc. (S.O.C.) is the only national, non-profit organization geared specifically and exclusively to the prevention of college and university campus violence and other crimes. S.O.C. Is also dedicated to assisting campus crime victims in the enforcement of their legal rights. S.O.C. was founded in 1987 by Howard and Connie Clery after their daughter, Jeanne, was brutally raped, beaten and murdered by another student whom she didn't know in her dormitory room at Lehigh University in the early morning hours of April 5, 1986.
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