When it comes to campus safety, spending has traditionally been a murky area. Underspending can be a recipe for disaster: if your safety department is strapped for resources, your campus becomes more vulnerable to threats. The desire to balance budget restrictions with safety concerns raises several questions: How do you determine if you’re over or underspending? What is an appropriate budget for your campus safety department? Establishing an ROI for security spending has always been difficult since a conventional “return” can’t be calculated.
In this economic climate, campus safety departments are challenged to do more with less, effectively demonstrate their value, and show what services are provided within the institution’s public safety budget. With the right technology and tracking tools, all the information needed during the budget process is readily available and easily accessible.
Incident reporting software can help campus safety departments maximize efficiency by automating the incident reporting process and facilitating accurate recordkeeping of campus safety incidents. The best software suites provide additional value beyond incident reporting by incorporating a variety of distinct tools designed to help campus safety departments function more efficiently and measure the impact of their efforts.
What information should your campus safety department be able to provide?
- A complete breakdown of services provided
Making knowledgeable budgeting decisions requires an accurate understanding of the services being provided by campus safety, the results of those efforts, and how departmental resources are being utilized.
Clerical tasks are necessary, but they also take campus safety staff away from their primary duty: keeping students, faculty, and staff safe. Implementing a software solution designed to help automate reporting, organization, and managerial functions can help minimize time spent on these types of tasks.
Many campus safety departments also perform duties that fall outside the traditional scope of campus safety such as conducting safety training for other staff. These additional accomplishments and duties should be included in a breakdown of the department’s activities. This information can help provide budget guidelines and establish a frame of reference demonstrating the value of the department.
- Justification for budget requests & increases in staff
With an accurate breakdown of services in hand, it becomes easier for campus safety departments to demonstrate where additional resources are needed. Incident reporting software documents increases in requests for service and can also help identify patterns in these increases. If resources are strained, the campus safety director can use the data from an incident reporting software suite to accurately pinpoint the cause and determine how to effectively alleviate it.
- Campus crime trends, analysis, & predictions
Tracking criminal incidents that occur on campus not only aids the budgeting process, it helps build a safer campus community and assists with planning for the future. The best incident reporting software doesn’t just make it faster and easier to compile reports and maintain Clery and Title IX compliance, it also organizes all incident data into a live dashboard that provides campus safety with a more accurate picture of what’s happening on campus.
Having access to this level of insight enables your campus safety department to work more efficiently and dedicate resources to incident prevention. Proactive measures based on data-driven intelligence helps create a safer environment and saves money.
- Departmental audits & response times
Detailed audits are a valuable asset for identifying waste on a departmental level as well as an individual level. Audits can also be useful for employee reviews and staff reward programs. Your campus safety department’s response times also play an important role in budgeting. While level of severity can factor into incident response time, in general, longer response times indicate an issue in the department’s operations. Taking a closer look at response times and departmental audits can help pinpoint opportunities for improvement in the department’s operational processes.
Campus Safety Must Be a Top Priority
Balancing budget restrictions with safety concerns can be challenging for university administrators and budget planners, especially in the current economic climate. Fortunately, technology is making the budget process easier by helping campus safety directors prove the value of their department.