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How to Improve Security When the Campus Is Empty

When is your university campus empty? As a campus law enforcement or safety administrator, you’d probably say never.

Whether your university is in the midst of spring break, winter break, or even a pandemic shutdown, your officers and staff still play a critical role in maintaining the security and safety of university property and assets when students are mostly gone.

As such, those periods in which campus is “empty” certainly aren’t times to relax or let basic department practices fall to the wayside. You must remain vigilant while taking advantage of the relative quiet to improve your department and other campus security measures.

Here are some steps you can take to make sure your campus remains safe until — and even after — students return.

Encourage Preparedness

If you have the benefit of knowing ahead of time that your campus will be closed for a period, such as for spring or winter breaks, be sure to communicate with students about the importance of securing their belongings before they leave. Campus-wide emails and flyers can help remind students to lock dorm or apartment doors and windows or secure personal property like bicycles.

Perform Routine Audits

Once students are gone, you’ll likely have fewer emergency calls to respond to. While your officers should already be checking doors around campus during this time, it’s also a good opportunity for you to audit campus keys and other security equipment you might oversee. If your audit process for keys takes days rather than minutes, consider using an electronic key control system for managing and tracking key activity. The quicker audits can be performed, the more time staff will have for other tasks.

Prioritize Training

When your campus is a bustling hive of activity, it’s probably difficult to squeeze important training into your daily activities. From threat response drills to leaning how to use a new tool or process, quiet times on your campus can be used to prioritize training. Taking some time to catch up on training will prepare your officers and staff to be more effective and efficient when campus is full.

Review Processes

It might be difficult to do when operations aren’t moving at full speed, but the slower pace of a break also represents a chance to review your department’s processes as a whole. Do certain tasks make parts of your department less efficient? If a particular staff member is out sick or on vacation, does that limit your department’s effectiveness? Look for areas that make life more difficult for officers and consider options that can eliminate bottlenecks and obstacles.

While an empty campus might seem like a great time to kick back and relax, it’s certainly not. It’s a time to be vigilant and an opportunity to improve and make your campus a safer place. If your campus is already starting to open up following COVID-19, consider these tips for keeping your key control running smoothly and cleanly in the face of the new normal.

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