Reducing campus crime through visitor management programs

Colleges see results after tightening security measures

One way to determine if a visitor management program is successful is to measure whether it has reduced crime on campus.

Since the University of Southern California in 2012 enclosed its campus with fencing and shut down access to visitors each night, the number of thefts occurring between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. has dropped by nearly 50 percent, says David Carlisle, deputy chief at the university’s Department of Public Safety.

“Some of the thieves that we’ve captured here on campus are those who specialize in crime on college campuses,” Carlisle says. “The thieves know that all these students have brand new laptops and smartphones.”

Since the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2007 implemented access control in all of its buildings scattered across the city, crime has decreased by 20 percent each year, says Michael Petricca, the director of campus safety.

And at California State University, Northridge, crime fell by 38 percent in 2005, when the university added full-time community policing teams that consist of two police officers who patrol the area together for an academic year. At the same time, Northridge turned the perimeter of its residence halls, which had already been enclosed by fencing, into a gated-type of community during evening hours with two main entry points for students and guests.

“The combination of the fencing and the guards and officers has made a much more secure environment,” says Anne P. Glavin, the university’s chief of police.


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