Questions Parents Should Ask Campus Police

When a student is trying to choose a university or college for the next four years, the efficiency of the campus security is probably the last thing on their mind. Other factors, like the academic and athletic program, price and distance from family and friends will probably be closer to the front of their mind. So here’s where the parents can come in. Wait until your son or daughter has narrowed down their top choice in schools to two or three and then ask each school these 5 questions:

1.) What qualifications to your campus security officers have? Many campus security officers have to go through similar training to that of an actual policeman, but other schools simply make them go through an 8-hour course, hand them a Taser and call it a day. You’ll want to make sure the people responding to possible threats actually know what they’re doing, compared to just a scared kid on a work-study program.

2.) Are background checks performed before security members are hired? You would think, in this day and age, that everyone would undergo a background check before they were hired, but it’s not the case. Background checks do cost money (not a lot of money) and do require some time, so a financially strapped college that needs to fill a job ASAP might skimp on something like this. Plus, the hiring process for campus security could be very different than the hiring process of the school’s professors and other staff. Don’t assume that just because one staff member has undergone a background check that all staff members have undergone a background check.

3.) How is the campus security funded and is it adequate? The national norm for the amount of an institutional budget that is spent on campus security is about 2.5-3 percent. How does this school use their funds? They can brag and brag and brag and brag about the level of personnel they have working for them, but if it’s only people because that’s all they can afford, it really doesn’t matter how outstanding they are. There is only so much so few people can handle. A financially strapped institution probably won’t be able to offer campus security escorts during sticky situations, for example.

4.) Where can I see the crime statistics for this school? One great way to know the effectiveness of campus security is checking to see how many crimes are actually reported. A safe campus doesn’t necessarily mean nothing is reported, it means that of the crimes that are reported, a healthy percentage of them are pursued and solved. Schools with little to no crime reports often mean that students aren’t reporting crimes because nothing ever happens to the perpetrators anyway.

5.) How often does the school conduct a comprehensive risk and threat analysis? The old, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mantra doesn’t work here. Every few years a whole new slew of problems arise, and if the campus security hasn’t been doing its research they won’t be able to do anything about them before it’s too late. Think about it; Facebook stalking has only been around fairly recently. Your school better have a plan set in place for dealing with something like that.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

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