Security Analysis: Penn State Harrisburg

1644 words - 7 pages

A thorough security analysis performed at Penn State's Harrisburg campus failed to detect any major flaws or potential issues that may pose a threat to students or the local community in the future. In part due to the recent high-profile violent crimes at educational facilities, the campus has upgraded its security features to adapt to these new risks as described in this analysis. In today's modern world, campus security must remain vigilant about older threats such as theft, vandalism, substance abuse, and natural disasters, but also evolve to deter new risks including snipers and even mass shootings. The security team at Penn State Harrisburg has taken it upon themselves to ...view middle of the document...

The director and several of the officers also possess Master's degrees. In addition, they receive on-the-job training at the campus on a continual basis. The officers are very visible, driving around frequently in their marked vehicles. During the analysis visit, an officer was making his rounds throughout the campus, ensuring the safety of students. Both the officers and the Director of Safety and Police Services, Kevin J. Stoehr, have the power to arrest individuals if necessary.

Enhanced and Anonymous Crime Reporting
If a crime occurs at the Penn State Harrisburg campus, the victim has a number of options to choose from. They can dial 911, which is set up to immediately dispatch campus security and/or police officers to the scene. They can also dial the campus police directly. A total of 38 emergency call boxes are set up throughout the campus, with many prominently displayed in front of buildings and especially residence areas. Campus security will respond even if nobody speaks when they call from one of those phones. Victims can report the crime anonymously using the telephone or by filling out a form online if they prefer. Crime alerts and emergencies are quickly communicated to students via email, posters, the media, and also by text messages. Students who register for PSUTEXT are notified of issues on campus and in the local area within minutes.

CPTED and Current Security Measures
The overall layout of this college and its buildings adds to the security of the facility. Originally, the campus served as an air force base until the 1960's. The campus rests atop a hill that overlooks railroad tracks in Middletown, Pennsylvania. The buildings were designed to encompass the concept of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). This concept guides the design of the building, including its layout and even the landscaping, in such a manner as to make it difficult for criminal activity to occur. For instance, the hedges next to the library were selected because they are not only aesthetically pleasing but also because they will reach a maximum height of 3-4'. Smaller hedges will not enable a person to potentially hide in the vegetation and harm someone entering or exiting the building.

The campus was not only designed with safety in mind, but the safety and security of students continues to be a high priority as reflected in the grounds management. The buildings themselves have clearly visible entrances and exits, with overhead lights above each door and also sufficient lighting in each parking lot. Lights line all roads, and most of the walkway, except for a small portion which is close to other lighting and in an open area. Where the walkway dips down to the bottom of a hill with woods to the side, a fence was installed to separate the wooded area from the trail. No Penn State campus currently requires identification of vehicles that travel on campus, because the college is considered a community facility and wishes to...

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