Who Keeps Campus Safe?

Photo by Hector Ochoa

Members of the Dearborn Police Department were on hand August 25 and 26, touring the HFC campus with Campus Safety specialists. The tour was part of an initiative aimed at improving the partnership between the Dearborn Police and HFC officials. Cynthia Glass, Director of Administrative Services, spoke of the close relationship HFC has with the Dearborn Police Department, “We’ve always had a great relationship...We are working to have a strong partnership with DPD…” One change the Dearborn department oversaw was the relabeling of the buildings on campus. Buildings were designated letters which run counter-clockwise in alphabetical order to make responding to incidents as simple as possible. These measures were put in place after a tragic murder-homicide occurred on campus in 2009. While the campus here at HFC is considered one of the safest in the region, it’s crucial that steps are taken to prevent crimes before they happen. HFC has taken strides to improve the campus in all aspects and campus safety is no exception. Campus Safety Manager Karen Schoen and other specialists are seeing to it that safety at HFC improves right along with other areas. Experts agree that campus safety programs are most effective when everyone takes a proactive approach. The measures that are already in place will be more effective if faculty and students act as the eyes and ears of the security team. Schoen spoke of the importance of being able to contact campus security directly:  “One thing students can do is input the campus security number into their phones so they can more readily contact them.”

This means reporting anything suspicious as soon as it comes to their attention. The Jeanne Clery Act requires that all colleges and universities which participate in financial aid programs to report and log crimes that occur on or around their campuses.  Compliance is monitored by the United States Department of Education, and civil penalties can run “$27,500 per violation, against schools for each infraction” according to the Clery Center. This provides an incentive for schools to keep the data on-hand.

The Mirror News staff conducted a survey in which 103 students were interviewed to gain an understanding of the perceptions of students regarding safety on campus. When asked if they knew how to contact campus security, 39 percent of students responded saying they did not. Many students also responded that they know how to contact campus security, but a significant number only knew how to do this by going to the campus security office.

“Around here it’s safe and I’ve never had an incident myself,” said one student when asked of their experience. This seemed to be a common answer, that students generally feel safe though the tune changed when it came to night or early morning  classes. The ever-present question of personal safety is similar to the nagging feeling that you may have forgotten something after you locked your door. “Is someone watching me? Am  I being followed? Am I safe?...” The survey data revealed that many students felt significantly less safe walking to and from class in the dark than during the day. One student wrote “I took a night class before and I didn’t feel as safe as Members of the Dearborn Police Department were on hand August 25 and 26, touring the HFC campus with Campus Safety specialists. The tour was part of an initiative aimed at improving the partnership between the Dearborn Police and HFC officials. Cynthia Glass, Director of Administrative Services, spoke of the close relationship HFC has with the Dearborn Police Department, “We’ve always had a great relationship...We are working to have a strong partnership with DPD…”

One change the Dearborn department oversaw was the relabeling of the buildings on campus. Buildings were designated letters which run counter-clockwise in alphabetical order to make responding to incidents as simple as possible. These measures were put in place after a tragic murder-homicide occurred on campus in 2009. While the campus here at HFC is considered one of the safest in the region, it’s crucial that steps are taken to prevent crimes before they happen. HFC has taken strides to improve the campus in all aspects and campus safety is no exception. Campus Safety Manager Karen Schoen and other specialists are seeing to it that safety at HFC improves right along with other areas. Experts agree that campus safety programs are most effective when everyone takes a proactive approach. The measures that are already in place will be more effective if faculty and students act as the eyes and ears of the security team. Schoen spoke of the importance of being able to contact campus security directly:  “One thing students can do is input the campus security number into their phones so they can more readily contact them.”

This means reporting anything suspicious as soon as it comes to their attention. The Jeanne Clery Act requires that all colleges and universities which participate in financial aid programs to report and log crimes that occur on or around their campuses.  Compliance is monitored by the United States Department of Education, and civil penalties can run “$27,500 per violation, against schools for each infraction” according to the Clery Center. This provides an incentive for schools to keep the data on-hand.

The Mirror News staff conducted a survey in which 103 students were interviewed to gain an understanding of the perceptions of students regarding safety on campus. When asked if they knew how to contact campus security, 39 percent of students responded saying they did not. Many students also responded that they know how to contact campus security, but a significant number only knew how to do this by going to the campus security office.
“Around here it’s safe and I’ve never had an incident myself,” said one student when asked of their experience. This seemed to be a common answer, that students generally feel safe though the tune changed when it came to night or early morning  classes. The ever-present question of personal safety is similar to the nagging feeling that you may have forgotten something after you locked your door. “Is someone watching me? Am  I being followed? Am I safe?...” The survey data revealed that many students felt significantly less safe walking to and from class in the dark than during the day. One student wrote “I took a night class before and I didn’t feel as safe as the dark than during the day. One student wrote “I took a night class before and I didn’t feel as safe as I do during the day.”

22% of students surveyed commented that they would feel safer if there were more security guards present. Another question included in the survey was what changes students would like to see to make the campus a safer place. One student suggested the utilization of a card scanner to monitor who is able to enter the campus. Potential guests would need to register with campus safety. “It’s what a few of my other schools have done.” When asked what her reaction would be in the event that she saw something unusual, student Natassia Watson commented: “If I saw someone following someone, I’d call campus safety...I’ve seen it happen a lot, even here. I’ve seen guys follow girls from class.” Her comments bring light to an issue that is seldom talked about when it comes to safety on campuses. While there is much talk about sexual assault and other violence, it can be taken for granted that stalking often accompanies this behavior. It continues to be an issue on many campuses nationwide. HFC happens to have a student sponsored safety escort program for students and faculty in which people are able to phone for an escort to accompany them walking to their car or anywhere else on campus. If you become aware that someone is following you it’s recommended that you call 1-313-845-9630  to reach safe walk. If no mobile service is available, any emergency phone on campus will provide help as well.

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