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Best Practices for College Event Security

empty college football stadium

Colleges and universities often host events that are open to students and the public. In addition to the campus itself and anything brought in for the event, there are also a lot of people to manage. Although basic visitor management can help, it’s usually not enough to handle large crowds of people on relatively open campuses. Here are a few best practices for college event security:

1. Revisit Your Emergency Operations Plan (EOP)

Just as you regularly want to assess building vulnerability to ensure you are covering any gaps in security, you also want to regularly revisit your emergency operations plan (EOP) and procedures. Your campus EOP should include clear planning, policies, and procedures for evacuations, disasters, and any other threats.

Additionally, there should be clear and updated maps, command center locations, emergency rally points, and more. With an upcoming event, there should be specific additions for the event itself and everyone involved should be prepped on this information. Plus, in reviewing the EOP, you may discover other vulnerabilities or security gaps that need to be addressed with updated campus security solutions.

2. Address Mass Notification

One of the biggest benefits of mass notification systems is getting important messages out to a lot of people quickly and efficiently. This is useful for communicating important messages to students on campus.

It is also a valuable resource for managing communications during a college or university event. Whether important updates about the event or emergency notifications, mass notification systems can help you effectively communicate with attendees and quickly disseminate critical information.

3. Update Access Control

Even if an event is campus-wide, there are likely still buildings or areas of the campus that are off-limits or need to be restricted. It’s important to regularly revisit and update your access control systems and procedures to keep these areas secure.

And, it’s especially important to revisit and update as needed prior to an event. Depending on the buildings and areas that need to be restricted and secured, updates could range from new door locks or updated components to the installation of a new, fully-integrated access control system.

There are plenty of factors to consider in an access control system. It’s important to check in on your current system, policies, equipment, and more to make sure it is still fitting your needs during day-to-day activities as well as events.

4. Protect the Perimeter

With events large and small on and around campus, it’s important to protect everyone on the ground and it is also important to protect the perimeter. With focus and activity on the event, areas along the perimeter can be vulnerable and can become security gaps and risks if they are not covered.

Perimeter protection technologies like gates, bollards, fencing, and more can help direct and control traffic and vehicles. Paired with comprehensive video surveillance and other integrated systems, you can rest assured that the perimeter and surrounding areas of the campus are monitored and protected.

5. Establish an Event Perimeter For Security

Adequately covering an entire campus day to day is a common campus security concern. Perimeter protection in general should already be part of your campus security approach. With events, especially large-scale events, you also want to set up a security perimeter for the event itself.

Depending on the scale of the event and location, you will want to plan for some sort of access control and visitor management. You may even be able to update elements of visitor management systems if you already have some in place. At a minimum, established entry and exit points for the event can help you manage visitors and attendees to the event.

Temporary fences and barricades can help direct people and control traffic flow to help make entries and exits more manageable and secure. This also allows you to check passes, bags, etc. in a timely and orderly manner based on the policies and procedures you have in place for the event.

6. Identify Where Security Needs to Scale Temporarily

Depending on the nature of the event, you may find that you need to scale up various aspects of your campus security temporarily for the event. Some events may bring in food trucks, banners, tents, stages, and more that can block fields of view that were previously unobstructed.

These temporary additions to the campus can also create new and temporary vulnerabilities and gaps that need to be addressed. This is why one of the best practices for college event security is to accurately determine what the event looks like and how it impacts all aspects of your current security solutions.

There will likely be areas where you need to adjust or temporarily scale up to effectively and comprehensively monitor the campus during the event. Your security systems and solutions, in addition to being integrated, should also be scalable and able to adjust fluidly to accommodate the needs of the event. These are qualities of good security systems to look for when upgrading campus security and planning for events.

7. Take Advantage of the Latest Technology

In addition to security products and systems that can scale up and down to fluidly meet your needs, you can also take advantage of the latest technology with upgraded products. Smart security cameras can integrate seamlessly with other systems and have intelligent video analytics capabilities.

Not only can the right types of surveillance cameras operate in varying light, weather, and more, but they can also use processing rules and AI to better monitor and classify potential threats. Smart cameras with geo-enabled analytics have evolved to the point where they can monitor speed and handle license plate recognition, detect gunshot sounds or identify muzzle flashes and triangulate gunshot detection, identify a target and follow them, and more.

AI has been used to help predict and prevent senior falls in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It has also evolved to be able to identify and process rules to help predict and prevent incidents in other areas. With the right types of cameras and software in place, video analytics can deliver aggression detection to allow for a more proactive response.

This is one of the evolving applications of AI in video surveillance. These cues could be audio, like raised voices in certain situations, mentioning key phrases to trigger potential alerts, etc., or physical cues that are aggressive or are likely to lead to violence.

8. Ensure Your Event is Staffed Appropriately

Having the right security products and systems in place can help mitigate risks and improve campus safety and security. But, if you don’t have enough trained professionals around, events, especially large-scale events, can quickly get out of hand.

Just as the presence of security cameras can deter theft or vandalism, the presence of visible security at your college or university event can help deter bad actors. Not only does visible security, both systems and personnel, present your event as a difficult target, but it can also help make guests more comfortable. Campus security, other security professionals, and emergency services should all be included in the planning stages for an event.

Improve College & University Campus Security With NEPPS

These are just a few best practices for college event security that are also ways universities can manage crime. Whether preparing for specific events on the calendar or enhancing building security, it’s important to have the right mix of security products and systems in place to support you. If you need to improve your college or university campus security, contact NEPPS at 1-800-736-1456!