Improving Campus Safety with Visual Collaboration

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Academic institutions of all sizes typically employ dedicated police or security teams. It is more important than ever that campuses with young student populations focus on public safety. Campus safety must take social justice activity, hazing, the opioid epidemic, violence, and general crime into account at all times. Like state or municipal police departments, university officers undergo extensive training and may arrest individuals and even carry firearms. Often, university and local state or municipal departments enter into written, detailed mutual agreements regarding jurisdictional authority. While there are distinctive differences between campus and non-campus forces, they share many of the same public safety practices.

From small community colleges to state universities, campus security and law enforcement rely on visual collaboration systems for real-time emergency response. A state-of-the-art campus security control center has the capability to pull data from multiple platforms and distribute critical information instantly to numerous locations.

Since larger universities often sprawl across several city blocks, enhanced environmental safety precautions reduce incidents in areas often fraught with blind spots including:

  • Residence halls
  • Public transportation drop-off/pick-up sites
  • Stadiums
  • Parking garages and lots
  • ‘Shortcut’ trails created by students

Closed-circuit television (CCTV), intrusion, and access control systems provide 24/7 monitoring. Event and Emergency Notification Systems (EENs) allow operators to simultaneously notify all students and staff to shelter-in-place or enter lockdown if a weather event or active incident occurs. Crisis management resulting from unanticipated maintenance or equipment failures can be communicated quickly via institutional websites or portals, all monitored in real-time through a visual collaboration system.

Crowdsourced information, such as through social media platforms, is instrumental for incident reporting, notification, and moment-by-moment status updates. According to 2021 research, 88% of people aged 18-29 use some form of social media. First responders track social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp for situational awareness with greater reach than their limited resources. A robust command center video wall system, with dedicated streaming equipment , can display multiple social media platforms for continuous monitoring. This enables campus safety response teams to mobilize in the early stages of a developing event with multiple valid sources of information.

Because a university’s student and staff population create a significant presence in any community, collaboration with local fire and police departments is vital. Recent U.S. Department of Education analysis data provides insight regarding the nature of campus safety and security. While many incidents are fairly self-contained within the specific academic community, protocols are required for the occasions when an event surpasses the capabilities of campus security. A technology infrastructure which allows campus monitoring tools to immediately share information with state and local departments significantly streamlines event assessment and response. This connectivity accelerates the decision-making process for all involved parties.

Visual collaboration solutions facilitate proactive campuses security measures, as well as response and engagement. Since these systems make so many sources of information available quickly and simultaneously, incidents are thankfully mitigated and/or diffused as quickly and effectively as possible.

To find out more about how the right visualization technology can foster collaboration and enhance campus security, contact us to schedule a demo of Haivision’s visual collaboration platform.

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