Campus security: protecting our assets and asses

Summary:Whichever campus you are at in the world, there will be a fair share of security issues. Where you have thousands of students all in one place, there's going to be crime, disorder and issues which eat away at our overall security.

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Whichever campus you are at in the world, there will be a fair share of security issues. Where you have thousands of students all in one place, there's going to be crime, disorder and issues which eat away at our overall security. In the UK, because of our stringent firearm and knife laws, there's little gun and knife crime on university campuses, whereas in the US, because of the semi-relaxed firearm laws, they have unfortunately been some tragic incidents over the years.

Whilst politics probably won't change, and the US still feel they have the right to bear arms and still have a huge gun crime rate, preventative measures such as university campus security is on the increase - simply because that and education about violent crimes and general disorder is all the university's can do.

For me, and those in the UK, we'll have two major incidents which can be planned for. One is fire, and the other is much more rare, and that's a bomb threat. We had one only a few months ago, but nothing was destroyed... except a bag full of exam revision. Harsh.

For the US and other universities, using technology developed over the last decade, campus officials and security officers on and off campus can lock down entire sections of the campus with a single button click. The San Mateo County Community College District which has over 40,000 people, students and staff, can be protected in this way by a system developed by TEECOM.

If an alert is triggered, the system brings up CCTV and live imagery of the alarm site, and can lock down a classroom, an entire floor, a wing of a building, a whole building, or the entire campus if necessary. This enables on-site campus or state police to keep people safe and contained within their area, stopping a gunman reaching people, for example.

Reverse-911 is a highly publicised system which communicates a campus warning from a central point to the entire community of students and staff, working as a reverse to letting the emergency services known about an issue. With cell phones called, text messages sent, emails sent in bulk and landlines dialled, it's a comprehensive and instantaneous solution to letting people on campus know about an event to allow them to effectively evacuate or avoid certain areas.

Whilst good old fashioned policing is still highly effective, having technologies which assist and ensure our safety can seriously increase overall security of our university campuses. Do you feel safe on your campus? Is there technology in place to allow you to study without worrying about crime and serious events? Let me and others know.

Topics: Security

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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