Campus Security: Then and Now2013-08-28T17:11:27-04:00

Jennifer Brown
York College of Pennsylvania
May 15, 2003

Contemporary college campuses utilize sophisticated security systems. This was not always the case. By studying the evolution of campus security, we may see historical cycles. Reviewing historical cycles can provide future insight.

The Beginning
Henry Fielding developed the idea of crime prevention in 1748 (The Complete Campus Crime Prevention Manual 8). During this same period he also started to develop a police department in London. Crime prevention started with police officers but declined because they were more involved in criminal investigations. John C. Klotter, a professor at University of Louisville, was also influential in crime prevention (The Complete Campus Crime Prevention Manual 9). He founded the National Crime Prevention Institute (NCPI) in 1971. The institute's concept came from his study of the British approach to crime prevention. The NCPI program has trained many people in crime prevention. These successful principles and concepts of crime prevention are widely used on campuses of colleges and universities around the world.

The first university security department to open in the U.S. was in 1894, at Yale University (Powell et al. 3). The Yale Campus Police Department was started to solve the problems between the students and the "townies" (people of the town around the University). Yale recruited police officers from the New Haven Police Department to staff the Yale Campus Police Department.

Campus security, in general, declined until the 1920's when watchmen were employed to protect college property. The schools recruited retired police officers to run campus security. In the 1950's the schools were trying to instill professionalism into the campus security field by the use of uniforms and professional organizations (Fisher and Sloan 231). Yet, this increase in professionalism was still unable to improve the security officers' knowledge of how to deal with the riots, sit-ins and vandalism found on college campuses in the 1950's and 1960's. The local police in this era were prone to use force with arrest to handle campus situations.

Yale University had the longest standing experience with campus security. To handle the above student issues, other colleges and universities followed the Yale Police Department training. This training and the increased professionalism were finally able to regulate the campus community. To reflect these changes, the name of the security department changed to "The Department of Campus Safety and Security." Respect for these departments is growing.

There are five Campus Safety and Security approaches that have evolved over time (Powell et al. 20-25).

  1. Watch-Guard Operation:
    a. The main goal is protection of university property
    b. There are no policing powers or training
    c. Officers may wear uniforms and carry radios
    d. The focus is on prevention, not response to crime
  2. Contract Guard Service:
    a. Cost control is the prime importance and takes precedence over performance
    b. Security officers' pay is low
    c. There is a high turnover of security personnel
  3. Contracts Involving Local Police: Two Styles
    a. Local police patrol areas when there is a complaint, but no routine security check
    b. An off duty police officer is paid time and a half to patrol the campus. The officer would respond to each situation no different than if he was on duty as a police officer
    Neither of the above approaches builds a relationship of trust with the campus population.
  4. Proprietary Security Department:
    a. Most frequently utilized approach
    b. Officers hold titles that mirror Police, i.e. Captain, Corporal, Sergeant
    c. There are around the clock security checks
    d. Some mirror police departments with firearms and special operations yet strive to maintain a low key, low profile approach
  5. Proprietary Police Oriented Law Enforcement Agency:
    a. Prototype of local police departments
    b. Utilize police titles
    c. Perform as police in campus situations
    d. May employ police officers with security officers

Arguments exist as to which approach is more appropriate, the Law Enforcement Approach or the Security Approach. Each campus needs to tailor a security system to its needs, although crime prevention should be the main concern for all campuses (Powell, et. al, 29).

Approaches to Crime Prevention
There are two major approaches used to prevent crime on college campuses, Physical Security and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. While outlined separately, these concepts work in concert with one another.

  • A) Physical Security
    a. Used to minimize human threats
    b. Uses locks, barriers, lights, alarms, access control, and security officers       to patrol
    c. Patrol is the key function
    i. Principles of patrol
    1. Patrols should be in a random fashion and done at random time
    2. The officers should keep contact with each other
    3. The officers should always document everything that happens while being on shift.
  • B) Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design:
    a. Used to deter crime
    b. Uses the environment to make the criminal not want to commit a crime
    c. Uses surveillance (natural, organized and electronic)
    d. Employs access control and territoriality

Each approach provides a structure for the security department. In the typical structure there should be the department director, who should possess leadership as well as administrative qualities. Responsibilities include crime prevention, recruiting and training personnel, acting as an interdepartmental liaison, and producing and maintaining report/records as well as disciplining security employees (Powell et al. 45). The director should also know the capabilities of his/her staff to maximize personnel deployment. By maximizing personnel deployment, the person that best fits the position will be hired, which will allow the campus to be a safer and more secure place (Davies et al. 62).

Reporting to the director could be an associate director, shift supervisor, field supervisor or security officer. Pay rates depend on the size of the campus, area of the campus and the crime rate (Powell et al. 60). Campus Security is a continuous responsibility, requiring staff to work all shifts.

Equipment utilized will depend on the approach used, as well as the size and needs of the campus. A vehicle, whether it be a bicycle or a car, is vital to crime prevention. Vehicles provide patrol and escort capabilities. Foot patrol enhances security through building checks for locked/unlocked doors, stranger control and off-shift building access as well as student access. Other essential equipment consists of uniforms, keys, flashlights, o.c. spray (pepper spray), and two-way radios for constant communication.

Campus security responsibility extends from everyday student life to special events held on campus. Special events such as sports, pep-rallies, special speakers, concerts, graduations, and theatre bring. No matter what the situation presents, campus security must have a plan to address it. A large part of daily security life is dealing with the issue of proper parking of vehicles, which is magnified with special events. A campus safety and security department must also keep a log of any incident that occurs on campus because of the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990, enacted by President George Bush. In 1998 the title of the act was changed to the Jeanne Clery Act in memory of Jeanne Clery, who was murdered on a campus in 1986. This act mandates that all schools must report their crime statistics for the current year and three years of the schools' statistics by October 1.The categories the school must report are from the Uniform Crime Report:

Part One Offenses
1) Criminal homicide
2) Sex offenses
3) Robbery
4) Aggravated assault
5) Burglary
6) Motor vehicle theft
7) Arson

Part Two Offenses
1) Forgery
2) Fraud
3) Stolen Property
4) Vandalism
5) Simple Assault

Not only do campus safety and security officers have to keep these logs, but they also have to make them accessible for any person to see at any time.

Today there are occurrences of terrorism, medical emergencies and natural disasters, when campus security will be expected to work hand in hand with local, state, and federal agencies. Terrorism on campus is a very real possibility and is sometimes hard to prevent. Schools are considered "soft" targets. They are unsuspecting and multicultural, with great freedom of movement and a large population in a small area. Students in chemistry or biology classes today could be connected to an act of terrorism tomorrow.

Campus safety and security originated to solve the problems existing between college students and "townies." It has evolved to encompass a total approach to asset protection and loss control. Contemporary campus security departments should not only concern themselves with the quality of daily campus life but must extend their vision to create the needed liaisons with outside agencies for situations they cannot deal with alone.

Jennifer Amy Brown is a junior at York College of Pennsylvania, working on a B. S. degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Criminalistics. She is employed by the York College Department of Safety and Security and is a candidate for designation as a Certified Protection Officer (CPO).

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