Prospective students should take campus security into account when choosing a program. Campus security systems differ between schools, but students and parents can access resources to help them review the effectiveness of any school's security. Most universities have college police departments dedicated to providing students, faculty, and staff with a safe place to live, study, and work. Each campus safety program has its own unique features, specific to that school and the surrounding area.
Some campus police departments offer trainings in self-defense and sexual abuse awareness, and campus safety websites help inform students on how to report crimes, and provide resources on rape, domestic violence, and other violent situations, such as active shooters on campus. Many colleges also provide escort services to students and staff members, through which campus patrol officers escort individuals who feel uncomfortable walking to their car or destination alone, specifically during evening hours.
Kansas State University
Responsible for monitoring campus environment and safety issues, Kansas State University’s office of student life maintains and prepares campus safety reports featuring crime statistics from the previous three years. These documents detail crimes that were reported to campus security authorities or local police agencies. Included crimes took place on campus, on public property within (or adjacent to and accessible from) the campus, or in specific off-campus buildings that are owned or controlled by Kansas State.
The university urges students to report crimes and concerns, and offers multiple avenues for doing so. Students should report crimes no later than 24 hours after they occur, and report emergencies immediately by dialing 911. They should report alleged crimes, including clery alleged crimes like burglary or aggravated assault, through the Campus Security Authority. Students can access the school’s campus safety and security website to review what they can report, including discrimination, conduct violations, students of concern, and academic violations such as cheating, copying, and plagiarism.
University of Washington
A world-class institution that attracts talent and students from all over the world, the University of Washington boasts a prestigious police department that holds accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The campus police department collaborates with the community to create a safe and secure environment for students, staff, and faculty to follow their creative, intellectual, and academic pursuits.
The University of Washington police department seeks a work environment rich in diverse ideas and backgrounds. The department aims to reflect its community's diversity to better connect with, collaborate with, and understand the students they serve. The department provides rigorous follow-up on cases and timely response calls to students. They also help foster the next generation of leaders by providing learning opportunities within the department.
East Central University
Featuring a police department dedicated to serving students, East Central University provides a variety of services to protect the university's students and staff. The uniformed state-certified police officers work to enforce local, state, and federal laws. Students and employees can reach out to officers to gain access to residences or buildings after-hours. The university also provides round-the-clock foot and car patrol on campus property.
East Central University has a zero-tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol on all campus property. The university police department enforces campus policies, plus local, state, and federal laws. The police department strives to maintain public safety and peace, and safeguard the assets of the university and its students, faculty, and visitors. Students and employees at East Central University have access to on-campus safety seminars and programs on safety precautions, self-protection, and rape and personal property theft prevention.
Arkansas State University
Showcasing a variety of important resources on their website, campus police officers at Arkansas State University strive to maintain a safe campus for students. The website features an active shooter guide, detailing what students should do in the event of an active shooter on-campus. The guide discusses how to secure the immediate area, and when not to. It also notes several ways to contact the authorities, including dialing 911, calling the police department directly, or emailing the university police department.
The campus police posts all active crime alerts on the homepage of their website, promoting visibility for students. They also discuss rape aggression defense with students, providing a program with realistic self-defense tactics and techniques. Certified instructors teach this program, giving students a reference manual to help them develop and enhance their options for self-defense, in case of an attack.
University of Illinois
The campus police at the University of Illinois provide a variety of useful services to students, including the SafeWalks and SafeRides programs, and student patrol. SafeWalks, a courtesy service, provides company to students, faculty, and staff at the university, so they do not have to walk alone at night on campus. You can call to request an escort with 15 minutes' advance notice. SafeWalks operates from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Sunday through Wednesday, and 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., Thursday through Saturday.
Between dusk and 6 a.m., the university offers SafeRides to students in need. Safety experts on campus are available to students, as are a variety of resources on the campus police website. Students in need of sexual violence resources can review the website to find support contacts, report an incident, offer support, or learn what to do in an unsure situation.
University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin's campus police department works hard to keep its students and faculty members safe. Because the campus sits near Lake Mendota in Madison, campus police assume a unique focus on lake rescue and safety. On the police department's website, students can review current lake conditions to determine whether they can safely use it.
The university's police department also offers students the chance to participate in a ride-along. Participants must sign a waiver and undergo a background check. Students may not participate in more than two ride-alongs in a 12-month period. Crime victims can also seek help through resources on both the department website and on-campus.
Columbus State Community College
Columbus State Community College's campus police force works to protect the school's staff, students, and faculty. The Department of Public Safety at Columbus State Community College is consistently recognized as one of the best campus security spots in the state. The campus police department builds close relationships with students to provide them with a safe and accessible environment. The college does not permit concealed weapons on any campus properties, though a person with a valid concealed handgun license may store their firearm and ammunition inside the glove box, trunk, or any other enclosed compartment in the student's privately owned vehicle.
Campus police provide students with resources to understand life-saving tips, helpful in case of an active aggressor emergency. The university also provides text message alerts to students, staff, and faculty, making them aware of incidents taking place on or near campus.
|Due West, SC||
Providing students a safe, peaceful campus, Erskine College's police department supports students, faculty, and staff across campus. Campus police officers are certified class one law enforcement officers, commissioned as state constables by the governor of South Carolina. The Due West Police Department provides supplemental support when campus police departments are off-duty. Erskine College employs a Due West rescue squad and a nurse to provide basic health services as needed.
Police patrol campus by bike, foot, and vehicle. Upon request, officers may also escort students and staff members to and from their vehicles during evening hours. Police officers greet unescorted individuals and visitors, and provide assistance to them if needed. They also escort people off campus premises if they have no valid reason to be on campus.
With personal safety at the forefront, Marshall University's office of public safety strives to provide a secure campus for students and staff. Uniformed officers patrol the campus 24 hours each day, and assume the same responsibilities and authorities as any other body of law enforcement in the state. Students can contact campus police through multiple methods, such as various phone numbers and the emergency help phones located around campus.
The department urges students to report any crimes as soon as possible. The website outlines different types of safety tips for students including tips about residence halls, active shooters, reporting crimes, sexual assault, personal safety, office criminals, and personal property. Students can quickly access the sex offender registry and the annual security report to learn about the history and demographics of safety in their area.
University of Minnesota
The police department at University of Minnesota includes a community engagement team, which works to engage with students and staff at the school. The community engagement team focuses on cultivating positive relationships within the campus community, hosting activities to promote proactive engagement and communication. Team members respond to immediate campus concerns, serving as liaisons between the police department and the campus community.
The patrol division of the UMPD comprises 22 officers and nine sergeants. Officers primarily patrol campus by foot or in squads, and use bikes and motorcycles during summer and spring months. They respond to traffic accidents, crimes in progress, reports of suspicious activity, and requests for help. Most initial crime investigations on-campus fall under campus officers' jurisdiction.
|West Lafayette, IN||
The officers in Purdue University's campus police department hold the same powers of arrest and law enforcement as city and county police officers do. More than 38,000 students study on Purdue's campus, and nearly 15,000 faculty and staff members work there. Campus police protect all students, faculty, and staff through a variety of crime prevention and educational programs. They also partner with the campus community to maintain a safe learning environment for everyone.
All students and staff members have access to Purdue University's safety programs, services, and activities. The university prohibits the possession, use, or distribution of guns, explosives, or other dangerous weapons or materials. In 2017, the campus experienced no homicides, no attempted homicides, and no acts of arson.
Louisiana State University
|Baton Rouge, LA||
Louisiana State University police officers patrol the campus 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. The LSU police department comprises three functional departments: The administrative division consists of command-level officers, responsible for directing and controlling all LSU police officers. The department's command staff takes charge of planning daily administration operations, plus uniform patrol and special services units within the department.
The special services division features officers focused on crime prevention at LSU, who provide vital support for all of the officers on campus. Their responsibilities include maintaining training services, a full-service firing range, and protecting life and property 24 hours a day. They use a variety of resources during patrol, including traditional police vehicles, mountain bikes, motorcycles, and canines.
University of Mississippi
The University of Mississippi police and campus safety department comprises five divisions: investigation, patrol, security staff, crime prevention, and support. The university police department strives to protect university properties, students, staff, and faculty. University police officers provide coverage 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Patrol officers rotate between four patrol shifts, and during home football and basketball games and special events, many work overtime.
The university police department features an active crime prevention program, used to minimize and eliminate criminal opportunities whenever possible. The program encourages students, faculty, and staff to remain responsible for their security and the security of those around them. The department regularly schedules crime prevention presentations around campus, covering topics including rape aggression defense systems, domestic violence education, and alcohol and drug awareness.
Dedicated to helping students, parents, faculty, staff, and the community, the police department at Millersville University strives to provide a productive, safe environment for students to learn and grow. The police department provides 24-hour, year-round coverage, with a full staff of state-commissioned, sworn police officers. Students can reach campus police by dialing 911 from any phone. Students who want to report crimes anonymously can contact Chief Pete Anders -- a trained, empathetic, experienced investigator of intimate partner violence and assault incidents.
The campus features emergency call boxes for students and staff to use. The university also provides a printable map, outlining all phone locations. Once a student finds their call box, they can press the talk button and connect directly to the emergency line dispatcher. They can stay on the line with the dispatcher until university police arrive, and the phone will flash a blue light, allowing police to locate the caller quickly.
University of Houston - Clear Lake
Complete with a 24-hour, on-campus dispatch, the University of Houston Clear Lake emphasizes a safe environment for students, staff, and faculty. The police department works to provide exceptional law enforcement service, responding to emergency and critical situations while proactively watching after campus safety. Staff work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to ensure a safe environment for everyone.
Campus police provide educational opportunities to the school community through regular outreach efforts, such as escorting students and staff to their cars at night, and helping impaired motorists. The police department gained accreditation in 2012 from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, becoming the first police department in the University of Houston system to achieve accreditation. The police department partners with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its "See Something, Say Something" campaign. The campaign encourages law enforcement to work with the community on providing a safe environment.
Northeast State Community College
The campus police department at Northeast State Community College posts crime bulletins and alerts on its website, informing students and staff on what is happening on-campus. The university provides an annual security report, outlining what type of crimes took place on campus during the year. Students can access the report to review campus safety issues. Campus police encourage students to report any illness or injury immediately, as police officers manage all situations involving injury or illness.
In addition to patrol and typical on-campus security features, the police department promotes efforts to treat and prevent substance abuse. Department officers may administer naloxone HCI to treat or reduce injuries and fatalities inflicted by opioid-involved overdoses at campus locations. The university prohibits all uses of firearms, explosives, and dangerous weapons, and campus police strictly enforce these policies.
University of Michigan
|Ann Arbor, MI||
The University of Michigan's division of public safety and security strives to ensure a safe community for students, faculty, and staff members. The safety division features specialized, unique departments, including housing security, the police department, Michigan medicine security, guest services, university security services, emergency management, dispatch services, and business administration. The campus police department focuses on community outreach by providing personal property registration, police station tours, community event participation, and presentations and trainings.
University police patrol campus on foot and by bike and motorcycle, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The patrol squad protects lives and property on-campus, regulates traffic, enforces motor vehicle laws, responds to accidents, answers distress calls for help, takes initial police reports, investigates suspicious activity, identifies and arrests suspects, and interviews witnesses and suspects. These highly trained police officers must complete a certified police academy program, followed by a four-month, on-campus field training program.
Oregon State University
The public safety department at Oregon State University provides the community with public safety officers, 24/7 dispatch, and Oregon state police troopers on campus. Police officers respond to calls regarding crime, fire, and medical emergencies. The department provides after-hours passes to students, allowing them to remain buildings after closing to continue working. Students may not obtain after-hours passes to enter buildings that have already closed.
The campus dispatch center monitors all alarms at Oregon State University. When the center receives an alarm notice, responders read the alert and activate the necessary response. An overheating lab refrigerator needing someone to close the door may trigger an alarm, as might a situation requiring trooper response. Dispatch also helps students with malfunctioning bike locks and animal noise complaints.
University of Colorado - Boulder
Dedicated to providing the highest quality of service to enhance community safety, the police department at the University of Colorado, Boulder partners with the community in an effort to resolve problems together and improve campus security. The police department also provides a unique, four-course series of workplace violence and active harmer response prevention training classes.
Students can enroll in the notification system, promoted by the police department, to receive relevant security alerts. The university police department provides weapons waivers for on-campus events. To receive a waiver, students must write a letter detailing that they will only use the weapon in a certain location and during the set event. They must also state that the weapon will be secured on-campus and in a carrying case during transport. Without and outside of the terms of a weapons waiver, firearms are prohibited on-campus.
Clayton State University
Clayton State University features an extensive public safety department, including police, campus security authorities, a crime and safety department, security guards, campus watch, and a safety and security department. The safety website posts campus crimes and dorm incidents, so students and staff can stay updated on campus safety. Police officers patrol campus areas on foot, or by motorized vehicles. They watch over campus grounds and buildings, and observe and investigate suspicious people and actions.
Campus police also unlock doors as needed, and enforce campus traffic laws. They issue traffic citations and investigate accidents, as well. The campus police department routinely engages in on-campus public relations activities, advising students, faculty, and staff about campus rules and regulations. The department also provides training, and answers community questions or concerns. All public safety officers are sworn in with full arrest powers, and earn certification to carry firearms through the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission.
The American University police department focuses much of its efforts on crime prevention, hosting free self-defense classes for community participation. These classes are available in both natural and gender-specific formats, plus full and short course options. University police also provide an escort service on-foot or by vehicle to any community member who feels unsafe.
The university police department offers the RAVE app, which transforms mobile phones into personal safety devices. The app features a variety of tools including a panic button, safety timer, and tip texting. American University issues alerts via communication tools in order to communicate when different crimes happen on campus. The alerts entail what is happening, what students should do, and any links needed for additional information.
University of Maryland
|College Park, MD||
The University of Maryland police department employs more than 100 men and women to make campus safe for everyone. All employees provide law enforcement and security services to their community, which includes a student population of about 32,700. Police officers hold state certification, and have the same powers and responsibilities as any other sworn police officer in the state of Maryland. They can make arrests, carry firearms, and investigate crimes.
The department also employs more than 100 student police aides, who perform a variety of security tasks, like patrolling campus by foot and bicycle and providing an escort to staff members or students who feel uncomfortable walking alone. They also perform traffic direction at special events. University of Maryland's police department is the only university police department in the state, and offers a fully certified, entry-level police academy.
University of Oregon
The University of Oregon police department works to help its community's people, traditions, culture, and diversity. Officers strive to protect life and property, prevent crime, reduce community fear of crime, preserve peace, and provide an inclusive, community-oriented, trust-based service experience. The UOPD operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Officers patrol campus on foot, by vehicle, and by bicycle.
Patrol officers are responsible for campus safety, law enforcement, and crime prevention. The police department collaborates with students and campus partners to prioritize and respond to specific campus safety needs. They serve with sworn police officers, security officers, and civilian staff, and work with community and campus partners to monitor safety issues and prevention approaches. The police department includes the office of the chief, patrol operations, professional standards and training, and security and special events.
West Virginia University
The police department at West Virginia University prioritizes students’ safety, and its website provides students and staff with a variety of security resources. The WVUPD emphasizes pedestrian and driver safety, one of the biggest issues on campus. The police department’s website outlines tips for driving and pedestrian safety, including staying alert for pedestrians, slowing down in inclement weather, and refraining from texting and driving. The department suggests that pedestrians yield to vehicles and bicycles, avoid walking in bike lanes, and put down their phones while walking.
The website also provides active alerts to keep students, staff, faculty, and parents updated on crimes and incidents taking place on-campus. It also features a daily crime and incident log. Students can access the log to review incidents from the past 90 days. The department also offers training programs, such as active shooter training and flash point training, for community members.
Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University regards safety as a top priority. The NAU police department, a full-service law enforcement agency, staffs experienced, sworn police officers who hold state certification. Officers hold accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement agencies, and patrol the campus 24 hours a day. NAU’s campus is equipped with almost 130 blue light emergency phones, which exist in all main residence hall entrances and elevators. In an emergency, individuals can push a button to call the NAUPD dispatch center.
Students, staff, faculty, and parents can sign up for the NAU alert free service, which sends text messages to their mobile phones in emergency events, including weather-related school closures. Individuals can also sign up to notify friends or family members of these events.
BestColleges.com highlights a few different research areas when ranking campuses' security programs. We review programs that offer more than just the basic campus security; for example, most colleges have campus security available to answer emergency 911 calls, but the best campus security programs may also offer on-campus emergency phones, campus escorts, and and trainings and seminars on safety awareness. Universities that offer extra security services tend to have the safest campuses.