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Campus Crime and Security at Postsecondary Education Institutions
NCES 97402
February 1997

Campus Security Procedures and Programs

The Campus Security Act was intended, in part, to encourage postsecondary institutions to put more emphasis on campus safety and on crime prevention services and programs. This section of the report provides information about what postsecondary institutions are doing to improve campus security, including access to rape crisis counseling, increases in lighting levels in campus areas, services and programs concerning campus safety, and types of public safety employees providing campus security.

Access to Rape Crisis Counseling

The Campus Security Act requires notification to students of existing on- and off-campus counseling, mental health, or other student services available for victims of sex offenses. One aspect of such services is rape crisis counseling. The survey asked whether students and staff at the institution have access to rape crisis counseling through various sources. Most institutions (82 percent) indicated that students and staff had access to rape crisis counseling through a rape crisis center or hotline run by the community (Table 16). A rape crisis center or hotline run by the institution was much less common, available at 10 percent of the institutions. Rape crisis counseling was available at a campus mental health or counseling center at 38 percent of the institutions, at a campus health center at 29 percent of institutions, and from some other source at 15 percent of the institutions.

The availability of rape crisis counseling through a rape crisis center or hotline run by the institution, a campus health center, and a campus mental health or counseling center varied by institutional type, percentage of students in campus housing, and institutional size, such that larger institutions, institutions with campus housing, and public 4-year institutions were particularly likely to have these resources.

Increased Lighting Levels

Institutions were asked whether they had increased lighting levels in various campus areas in the last 5 years. The 5-year time frame was used since approximately 5 years had elapsed since the passage of the campus crime legislation and the survey data collection. In that period, 66 percent of institutions had increased lighting levels in parking lots and structures, 60 percent had increased lighting levels on campus grounds and walkways, and 51 percent had increased lighting levels within campus buildings (Table 17). Public and private 4-year and public 2-year institutions generally were more likely to have increased lighting levels than private 2-year and all less-than-2-year institutions. Institutions with campus housing more frequently had increased lighting levels than did institutions without campus housing, as did larger institutions compared with smaller institutions. For example, 96 percent of public 4-year institutions and 94 percent of institutions with 10,000 or more students had improved lighting on campus grounds and walkways, compared with 30 percent of for-profit less-than-2-year institutions and 36 percent of institutions with less than 200 students.

Services and Programs Concerning Campus Safety

Part of the intent of the campus security legislation was to encourage postsecondary education institutions to pay more attention to the prevention of crime on campus. One way that institutions can do this is through services or programs that foster campus safety. Institutions were asked whether they offered various services or programs concerning campus safety, and whether the service or program had been instituted or improved in the last 5 years.

Most institutions with campus housing indicated that they limited access to residence halls (90 percent; Table 18). About two-thirds of all institutions limited access during nights and weekends to academic buildings, had a program of publishing or posting safety reminders, and gave safety/crime prevention presentations to campus groups; about half had foot or bicycle patrols by security personnel, night-time escort services, and emergency phone systems; and a third had victim's assistance programs. Night-time shuttle bus or van services were offered by 12 percent of institutions.

The majority of institutions offering various campus safety services and programs had instituted or improved them in the last 5 years (Table 18). Initiation or improvement rates ranged from 57 percent for limiting access during nights and weekends to academic buildings to 82 percent for safety or crime prevention presentations to campus groups.

The percentage of institutions offering various campus safety services or programs varied by institutional type and size, and the presence of campus housing (Table 19). The general pattern was that public 4- year institutions most frequently offered the various services or programs, followed by private 4-year and public 2-year institutions. Less-than-2-year institutions tended to offer these programs and services much less frequently than other types of institutions. Institutions with campus housing (both those with less than 25 percent and those with 25 percent or more of their students in campus housing) were more likely to offer the various services or programs than were institutions without campus housing, and larger institutions were more likely than smaller ones to offer the services or programs. For example, foot or bicycle patrols by security personnel were offered by more than 93 percent of public 4-year institutions, 95 percent of institutions with 10,000 or more students, and about 80 percent of institutions with campus housing compared with 6 percent of for-profit less-than-2-year institutions, 17 percent of institutions with less than 200 students, and 29 percent of institutions without campus housing.

Public Safety Employees

Campus security can be provided by many types of public safety employees. Security may be provided by sworn officers (i.e., officers with full arrest power) who are employees of the institution or who are employees of a state or local law enforcement agency (e.g., state police who are assigned to police duties on a public college campus). Security may also be provided by security officers or guards who are not sworn officers, by contract security (firms or individuals who are not employees of the institution who provide security under contract), or by other types of security personnel. Institutions may use just one type of public safety employee or different types to serve different security functions.

About a third of the institutions used security officers or guards for campus security, 28 percent used sworn officers employed by a state or local law enforcement agency, 24 percent used contract security, and 18 percent used sworn officers employed by the institution (Table 20). Eight percent of the institutions said that security was provided by city or state police when called (e.g., through the use of 911 or other local emergency numbers),13 and 15 percent indicated that security was provided by other types of security personnel. A particularly striking finding was the very high percentage of public 4- year institutions and institutions with 10,000 or more students, compared with other institutional types and sizes, that used sworn officers employed by the institution.

Many institutions, especially less-than-2-year institutions, indicated that they used sworn officers employed by a state or local law enforcement agency. This category was intended to refer to officers that were assigned specifically to the campus, and not to city or state police who served the campus as one part of a larger patrol area. However, this was not explicit in the definitions of security personnel provided on the questionnaire, and it appears that many institutions interpreted this category to include city and state police officers serving the campus as part of a larger patrol area.

Institutions were also asked to indicate which one type of public safety employee had the primary responsibility for providing campus security. Twenty-three percent of the institutions indicated that security officers or guards had primary responsibility for campus security, 19 percent used sworn officers employed by a state or local law enforcement agency, 17 percent primarily used sworn officers employed by the institution, 14 percent gave primary responsibility for security to contract security, 7 percent indicated that they primarily used city or state police when called, 8 percent gave primary responsibility to other types of security, and 12 percent indicated no public safety employees (Table 21). As with the overall use of various types of campus security, the most striking finding was the very high percentage of public 4-year institutions and institutions with 10,000 or more students that indicated that sworn officers employed by the institution had primary responsibility for campus security. Less-than- 2-year and private 2-year institutions, institutions without campus housing, and institutions with less than 1,000 students generally were more likely to indicate that they had no public safety employees.



13 This category was not given on the questionnaire. However, it was created from the other, "specify" category since it was mentioned frequently by institutions.

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