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Are we securing our students' futures?

IN MAY 1988, THE COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania took the lead in enacting legislation on security at both state and universities. The College and University Security Information Act was introduced and passed due to pressure from the parents of a student murdered in a Pennsylvania college dormitory.

The act requires all Pennsylvania colleges and universities to report their crime statistics to the Pennsylvania state police for annual publication in the Crime in Pennsylvania Report. The information reported must also be made available to students and employees and must show the most recent three-year period of crime statistics.

The act also requires each institution to develop written security policies and procedures that include the following:

* number of undergraduate and graduate students enrolled

* number of undergraduate and graduate students living in student housing

* total number of nonstudent employees working on campus

* administrative office responsible for security on campus

* description of the type and number of security personnel used by the institution, including a description of their training

* enforcement authority of security personnel, including their relationship with state and local police agencies

* how criminal incidents are reported to state and local police

* how students, employees, guests, and others gain access to institutional facilities and programs

* how students and others report criminal actions and other emergencies occurring on campus, and how the institution responds to these reports

* policy on the possession, use, and sale of alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs

* policy on the possession and use of weapons by security personnel and any other persons

* policy on students or employees with criminal records

* security considerations used in the maintenance of campus facilities, including landscaping, grounds keeping, and outdoor lighting

* communication methods used to inform the campus community about security matters

* types of student housing available (on campus, off campus, single room, double room, group room, single-sex dorm, coed dorm, undergraduate housing, or married housing)

* how housing assignments and student requests for assignment changes are handled

* how visitors are identified and admitted to student housing facilities

* measures used to secure entrances to student housing facilities

* standard security features used to secure doors and windows in students' rooms

* description of the type and number of employees

* type and frequency of programs designed to inform student housing residents about housing security and enforcement procedures

* any special security procedures for housing students during low-occupancy periods such as holidays and vacation periods

* housing of guests and others not assigned to student housing and not regularly associated with the institution

The legislation was designed to increase the awareness of students, parents, and college and university administrators of the need for an effective, professional security and public safety department. Although most progressive institutional public safety departments were already reporting crime statistics and had written security policies and procedures, this information is now required by law to be available for review.

The availability of the information will negatively affect institutions with increasing crime rates by bringing about adverse publicity and loss of enrollment. On the positive side, such legislation will be an excellent recruitment tool for those institutions demonstrating a lower or acceptable crime rate and an effective security program.

Such legislation will aid the security administrator in selling a comprehensive loss prevention program to college and university administrators and in obtaining appropriate funding. Demonstrating the success of the program through a reduction in crime and by developing security policies and procedures that reflect professional, state-of-the-art security and loss prevention programs should be every public safety officer's goal.

It is vital for the security profession to regulate itself with professional standards as established by ASIS, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Officers, and other professional security organizations. As legislation similar to that passed in Pennsylvania is enacted in other states, the security field must use it to provide professional security programs to protect those attending, working at, and visiting our colleges and universities.
COPYRIGHT 1990 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:college security
Author:Benny, Daniel J.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:column
Date:May 1, 1990
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