During the month of October, we celebrate Crime Prevention Month with the National Crime Prevention Council (CPC). No matter your age, your walk of life, or the industry you’re involved, we should all be working together to help prevent crime wherever and whenever possible. Awareness and preparation are so important when it comes to protecting yourself and the people around you. Crime prevention is about keeping everyone safe. As the CPC says, “It helps ensure individuals live up to their potential no matter their way of life or where they live. It’s all about helping people keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe from crime.”
We all hope that no matter where we are - home, work, the park, or the mall - we will be safe from any danger. People expect to be notified immediately of danger and what steps they should take to stay out of harm’s way. Being made aware of crimes as they are occurring, can help you and your people stay safe if the crime remains active. Crime prevention is about learning from the incidents that did occur and understanding what can be done to lessen the damage caused if it were to happen again or stop it from happening altogether.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) is the federal law that calls for the disclosure of campus safety information by colleges and universities. The Clery Act is named in memory of a college student, Jeanne Clery, who was raped and murdered in her college dormitory. After the mass shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech, the law was updated to require campuses to issue immediate campus alerts about any emergency situation that is a threat to the health or safety of students and employees. The Clery Center suggests that “By creating a more transparent culture, colleges foster the trust of prospective families and ensure an environment that encourages students’ academic and emotional security.”
Spreading awareness and transparency for these crimes as soon as possible helps students and staff ensure they stay clear of the dangerous situation.
Campus safety officials have a legal obligation to adopt best practices and technologies that create a safe and secure campus community. In addition, you must be in compliance with the Clery Act and avoid fines from the U.S. Department of Education. Furthermore, all organizations have a similar legal responsibility to their employees under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Under OSHA, employers have the responsibility to provide a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. With the goal of reducing the severity of workplace accidents and injuries, employers are required to provide warning for necessary emergency action as called for in their emergency action plan to all enough reaction time for the safe escape of employees from the workplace or the immediate work area, or both.
Technology has evolved since Jeanne Clery’s horrific incident. There are many ways that universities, companies, and all organizations can ensure they reach every member of their community no matter where they are. Now there is a better way to initiate critical response communications across all technologies and devices. By adopting technologies like a mass notification system to help you bring your organization’s emergency response and action plan to life, you are able to immediately informing everyone at your organization about an emergency incident. You are also giving them actions to follow to keep them out of harm’s way.
Raising awareness within your organization through proper emergency planning, exercising of those plans, and providing an immediate and timely warning when an emergency does occur - are core aspects of crime prevention.
To learn more about how you can raise awareness and prevention within your organization, check out the Critical Communications Cycle eBook. This will give you insight about how your organization should be planning before, during, and after an emergency.