Safety Consciousness

Learning Objectives

  • Define safety consciousness

Safety Consciousness on Campus and in College

College and university campuses tend to have a special feel—so special that when you are on campus you may feel you are fully apart from the wider world around you. But the reality is that any campus is subject to the same influences—indeed, crimes—as the towns and cities that flank the campus. And so it is important to be aware of your surroundings, the people near you, and the goings on in your physical spaces and in your virtual spaces at all times.

In this topic, we explore college safety concerns, and share tips and resources to help ensure that you are always safe, protected, and no more than a phone call away from help if you need it.

Safety Consciousness

Safety consciousness is a term describing your awareness of hazards, and your alertness to potential danger. In order to have safety consciousness, you must value safety no matter where you are or what time of day it is.

Your college or university must also be safety conscious—not only by choice, but also by law. In 1990, Congress enacted the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act, which required all schools that receive federal student aid to share information about crime on and around their campuses. The act is now generally just referred to as the Clery Act, in memory of Jeanne Clery, a student killed in her dorm room in 1986.

What does the Clery Act require your college to do? If your college is receiving federal student aid, here are the major legal requirements it must comply with:

  • Have emergency notification and evacuation procedures for alerting the campus community about significant emergencies or dangerous situations. Disclose your policies and procedures in the annual security report.
  • Issue timely warnings to alert the campus community about crimes that pose a serious or continuing threat to safety. Disclose your policy in the annual security report.
  • Keep a crime log that records, by date reported, all crimes reported to the campus police or security department.
  • Keep a fire log that records by date reported, all fires in on-campus student housing facilities.
  • Collect crime reports from campus security authorities within the institution.
  • Request crime statistics from local law enforcement in the jurisdiction where the institution is located.
  • Submit crime and fire statistics to the Department of Education via a Web-based data collection.
  • Have missing-student notification procedures to aid in determining if a student is missing, and in notifying law enforcement personnel. Disclose your policy and procedures in the annual security report.
  • Publish an annual security report containing campus security policy disclosures and crime statistics for the previous three years.
  • Publish an annual fire-safety report containing policy disclosures and fire statistics for on-campus student housing facilities for the previous three years.

This valuable set of requirements is important for every student to be aware of. It is readily available to you and your family. You don’t need to be a student to access this information about any school.

Indicators of School Crime and Safety

The following video, from the National Center for Education Statistics, gives statistical details about safety and crimes on campus. You can visit the organization’s Web site to view the full related report and learn more about crime and safety in America’s schools and colleges.

You can view the transcript for “College Crime and Safety” here (opens in new window).


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