Education institutions face unique risks and challenges on their campuses every day but none are as paramount as keeping students, faculty, staff and visitors safe from crime and violence. It is imperative that institutions take unified action to:
- Minimize risks related to student, faculty, staff and visitor safety
- Establish effective policies to support those efforts
- Encourage a culture on campus that advocates reporting incidents or warning signs
The past decade has brought countless, devastating incidents on educational campuses that have revolutionized how schools approach security. According to an FBI study, 24% of active shooter incidents from 2000 to 2013 took place within an educational environment. It is important to also understand the severe psychological and traumatizing impact that these violent acts have on those who were not physically injured. According to a Washington Post article, over 228,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine in 1999.
While violence on campus is nearly impossible to predict, educational institutions can establish a balance between training, technology, facility design and crime prevention education to help reduce these occurrences, limit the impact and encourage a quick recovery.
A system-wide assessment of all potential student safety risks should be conducted to help begin this process. Equally as important, this risk profile needs to be continually analyzed and evaluated over the evolving and changing institutional landscape. The ongoing results of this analysis should be channeled into a coordinated strategic approach that aligns the educational mission and risk management across campus departments and functions.
Many schools have begun thinking about safety and security outside of the traditional paradigm of campus security. One Security Magazine article details how The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has piloted a unique facial recognition program to prevent theft on campus. Many other institutions have begun engaging with local law enforcement and students directly via their smartphone on safety-based apps. These apps include LiveSafe where students can quickly and discreetly send an emergency notification to law enforcement when they see suspicious activity and OnWatchCampus where students can quickly alert emergency responders of their GPS location in an emergency.
The insurance industry continues to develop policies to respond to a wide range of “violent acts” or “active shooter” exposures. There is not a “one size fits all” program. Instead, RCM&D recommends that institutions pay close attention to the coverage they might already have in place and then design a policy tailored to their individual needs. In addition, institutions should test their emergency management plans through tabletop drills or live drills. Contact a trusted RCM&D advisor to learn more about insurance and risk management solutions for active shooter and violent acts incidents.
The issue of Active Shooters and Violent Acts was ranked as one of the top risks for education institutions in the RCM&D report 2019 Outlook: Top Risks for Education Institutions. To receive a copy of the full report, please complete the form to the right.
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