College campuses can be a source of intellectual and social development and freedom. They can also present more than a few safety concerns, especially for those students living in the residence halls who are on campus even after classes are out for the day. For many students, this is the first time they are out on their own and concern for personal safety might not be high on their list of priorities – but it should be. One of the biggest concerns, right up there with scholarships and GPA, is how to keep your home-away-from-home safe from theft and violence.
Campus Security Measures
Most campuses have some security measures in place and students should familiarize themselves with the policies that have been established to offer the protection they need. For residence halls, managed access control (a.k.a. key cards for building entry and dorm room doors) could be the most important feature of the campus security system. It keeps unauthorized people out of the residence hall when used properly. Students should guard their key cards very carefully to prevent loss or theft of this important item. When used in conjunction with a building security system and a strict visitation policy, managed access control systems are highly effective in preventing intruders from entering the building and in identifying anyone who does belong in the dormitory.
Managed Access Control
Sonitrol offers a Managed Access Control System with a long list of benefits to colleges and universities, and also to students.
For the college or university, our managed access control system gives us the ability to track movement throughout the facility and to restrict access by location and/or time of day. All access control activity is monitored 24/7 by security professionals, allowing us to track the comings and goings of employees, students, and visitors – and their use of the facility. Access to any entrance can be granted or revoked electronically from the control center – so complete control and flexibility are maintained even in the ever-changing environment of a college or university campus. Our managed access control system can also reduce the trouble and expense of replacing locks when staff and students cycle through the school semesters. Furthermore, when students or employees move out or leave that job position, money can be saved on re-keying by simply ordering another access card for the new students and employees.
For students, the key card that is issued for the managed access control system is easy to carry and can serve many functions on campus. Some schools use the key cards for the dual purpose of entry access and campus ID, so only one card is needed to access the buildings and services on campus instead of multiple keys or membership cards. And if a key card is lost or stolen, it can be reported and immediately deactivated to prevent an unauthorized person from using it to gain access to private or restricted areas on campus, including residence halls.
In addition to the services provided by security professionals like Sonitrol, it is important for colleges and universities to educate students and staff on the use of the key cards and general safety protocols, and to hold them accountable to following all security policies. A couple of the general protocols that are frequently overlooked or ignored, particularly in the dormitories, are: propping building doors open and letting strangers enter the building unescorted – both are big “NO-NO”s in facility security and should be reported immediately if spotted. Building doors are locked for a reason and those safety measures should not be bypassed for convenience or neglect of the rules. Everyone in the residence hall is potentially put in danger when policies are breached in this way.
General Safety Tips
In addition to a top-notch electronic security system, here’s a quick list of general safety practices recommended for residents of campus dormitories:
- Lock room door when out of the room and while sleeping.
- Keep your key card with you at all times.
- Never loan key card to anyone else.
- Immediately report lost or stolen key cards.
- Never prop doors open.
- Never let strangers who do not have a key card enter the building with you.
- Follow all safety policies.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Start the next semester with a safer campus environment by taking the necessary measures to keep residence halls protected with a full-range security system that includes managed key card access and a process to educate students and staff on proper safety protocol. If your facility security system needs to be updated or evaluated, contact Sonitrol to see how our integrated security systems can improve safety on your campus. We offer a modular system approach that can grow and change along with your needs.