3 Ways Data Analytics Make School Campuses Safer

Workplace Safety, Higher Education, Healthcare, Security, Corporate | 7 Min Read

As of September, there have been 72 incidents of gunfire on school grounds this year – a statistic that campus public safety and security personnel work to combat on a daily basis through their patrolling efforts. When it comes to protecting a community of students in today’s environment, campus public safety and security officers are on the front line.

More and more departments are beginning to employ innovative technologies, like incident reporting platforms, situational awareness training, anonymous reporting capabilities, and safety apps that utilize advanced GPS technology to improve campus safety, but another tool they should be considering is data analytics. Though data analytics tools are not public-facing measures, providing your security team with access to these tools could mean the difference between a crisis averted and a criminal at large.

Whether it’s daily events, investigations, citations, or man hours, the best incident reporting and security management software solutions allow campus security to record and store data so that they can utilize it in a number of ways. Below are the three main reasons university or college campus public safety and security departments should implement a solution that features a robust data analytics component:

1. Prevention

Most importantly, data analytics prevent future crime. While officers can sift through data manually in an attempt to assess historical data and implement proactive measures, incident reporting platforms with integrated data analytics dramatically simplify the process. Officers can easily query data, generate reports and compile statistics in a matter of minutes, allowing them to use their time more efficiently to investigate issues or simply maintain a physical presence in the field.

For example, consider the problem of bike theft on campus. If the department notices an increase in the number of thefts over a certain time period, an officer can use analytics to sort the days of the week, time of day, and the location of the thefts. If it’s discovered that most of the thefts were taking place between 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Tuesdays at the classroom building next to the Student Union, then it would become clear where to allocate additional resources. Officers could proactively patrol that area to catch the criminal and make an arrest.

2. Protocol Tracking

When campus police receive notice of a student or employee threatening harm upon themselves or others, they must take immediate action to ensure the safety of that person and the community. After responding on scene and mitigating the acute threat, an officer must manage the follow-up action plan for the individual’s rehabilitation to ensure they no longer pose a threat to themselves or the school community.

Oftentimes, officers must follow strict protocol and mandate regularly scheduled mental health assessments and/or random check-ins to monitor the well-being of the student or employee. These assessments and check-ins can be documented within an integrated incident reporting platform, thus enabling an officer to track the person’s progress more closely using data analytics. For example, when details such as  what was discussed during an assessment, the person’s feelings, the interactions they had during a check-in, and more, are recorded, data analysis can reveal if the person continued to express anger in subsequent mental health assessments and help determine whether intervention is still necessary.

3. Justification

The justification of resources and budget is a constant struggle for smaller campus public safety and security departments. Oftentimes, the administration is not fully aware of the ways in which their public safety or security department keeps the campus secure and safe. Daily crime logs don’t reflect all the work done behind the scenes and thus can be misleading to administrators looking to slash budgets or shave man hours. The majority of a campus public safety or security officer’s job consists of tasks that aren’t classified as crimes, such as escorting individuals, jumping batteries, and unlocking car doors.

Because these tasks are less visible to administrators, departments find themselves needing to justify the number of officers on staff or the budget required to keep everything running smoothly. This is where data analytics comes in handy. Customizable reports can demonstrate how busy the entire department—or an individual officer—is throughout the day. When administrators have access to a dashboard of statistics and data visualizations provided by a comprehensive incident reporting platform, it not only safeguards existing budgets but can also help increase budgets and justify additional personnel down the road.

While data analytics can prove valuable for campus police departments within a few weeks of use, it’s surprising to find that less than half of the U.S. market has a system in place. Most departments still rely on antiquated tools, like Excel spreadsheets, that are manual, time consuming, and inefficient. When data can be easily queried and analyzed by an integrated incident reporting and security management platform, like that offered by Omnigo, departments can extract valuable insights to safeguard their budgets and keep students and others on campus safe.

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