The Hurdles of Dorm Security (and How to Solve Them)
There are currently more than 20 million students enrolled in college courses, according to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) National Center for Education Statistics. Some of these students live at home with their parents, whereas others live alone in homes or apartments. Of course, a third option is to live in a dorm room, which offers the benefit of being close to classes and other campus facilities.
But dorm rooms pose several key hurdles in regards to security, and it’s important for students to acknowledge these security challenges.
Dorm rooms are often shared by two or more students, posing major challenges in terms of security. The more people with whom you share the dorm room, the greater the risk of someone accidentally leaving a door or window unlocked. It only takes one instance of a door being left unlocked for a thief to enter and clear out your belongings. You may want to consider having a small, locked safe or file cabinet to store money, jewelry, or other valuable items if you live in a dorm, especially if you don’t know your roommates well.
Access to Dorms
Who can access the dorm in which you are staying? Most college dorms have some type of access control system, such as a gated keycard entry. Unfortunately, however, it’s not uncommon for students to bypass these systems by leaving the door propped open, allowing anyone to enter the building unrestricted. Or as students exit, anyone waiting outside the door can use this as an opportunity to gain access.
This opens the doors to a whole new world of problems, as burglars, vandals and even sexual assailants can enter the dorm. Make sure the access control system for your dorm is being used as intended — an administrators should regularly review their access control systems to make sure they have modern, more secure systems installed.
Dorm Room Windows
There’s nothing wrong with leaving a window open in your dorm room, but you should close it before leaving. Burglars often gain entry into dorm rooms through an unlocked window — and don’t assume that your dorm room is immune to “window-crawling” burglars just because it’s on the second floor. Burglars may climb railing to access second, third or even fourth-story dorm rooms.
There’s also the issue of hallway security in dorms. Because they are rarely monitored, burglars may use the hallways to travel back and forth between the different dorm rooms. A simple solution to this problem is video surveillance. Dorm hallways and entry areas can be equipped with professional-grade video surveillance systems to keep a watchful eye on activity. If a student discovers some of his or her belongings missing, footage from the video surveillance system can be reviewed to identify the culprit.
Here are some other tips to enhance dorm security:
- Students should check to see if the school offers a security or news update app for their smartphone.
- Install additional lighting in around and the dorm.
- Report signs of suspicious activity to the campus security.
- Hide valuable items (don’t leave them sitting in plain sight).
- Students should travel in groups when possible.
Off Campus Housing
As many college students live off campus in apartments, houses and other properties, much of the advice above applies to them as well. In addition, many parents buy off campus condos or houses for their students — in this case, parents can install alarm and access control systems to ensure their kids and their roommates are safer.
At Cultris Security Systems, we design security systems for school campuses of all size, including universities. Give us a call at 281-506-8466 or visit us online to learn more about how we can ensure your campus is safe.
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