Webster University, like many other public institutions, is faced with a number of challenges that need immediate attention. One of the challenges is security issues within and around the university. The number of reported cases related to security violations has been rising in the past few months. Swift actions need to be taken before the problem escalates to a higher magnitude.
Three weeks ago, two cars belonging to second-year and third-year students were broken into right at the parking lot. Important documents and a stereo system were stolen from one car while a laptop with important research documents was stolen from the other car. When the vandalism was realized in the evening, it was too late as the suspects had already vanished. An investigation by the police later revealed that the suspects had all the time to do the break-in undeterred.
Fast forward to last week Tuesday when three suspects managed to access the Hall of residence when students were asleep. One student who was just coming in spotted the three strangers and managed to alert the few security guards manning the Administration block. Though the suspects were apprehended and the matter is still under investigation, their motive still remains a mystery. This incident has left many students worried about their personal security, with some deciding to spend their night off-campus.
Another incident that can not be ignored is the recent burning down of one side of the library block. The university lost a lot of important books and other properties worth millions of pounds. Initial investigation indicated that the fire was caused by an electrical fault but upon further investigation, the police concluded that the block was torched by an arsonist whose motives are yet to be known. The police have few vital clues and lead and they are likely to make arrested soon.
Such security incidents occurring within a span of one month can not be just wished away. A recent survey carried around the university shows that many students are worried about their own security with the majority feeling that the University administration has not taken adequate security measures that guarantee 24 hours a day, security to students and properties. Such sentiments can have quite negative effects on the quality of learning as students start to concentrate more on their worry on security and the expense of studies. It is the high time the administration takes appropriate action that guarantees the security of students and the whole institution.
To solve the security issues at Webster University, a number of strategies will have to be implemented. Currently, the number of security guards is very low and the few guards who are guarding the university display a high degree of laxity in their work. It is high time that the university should consider doing an overhaul of the guard hiring system. The administration should consider setting up a security division with the staffing department. The security department will be mandated with the duties of vetting, hiring, and supervision of the guards. The hiring process should be above board to avoid hiring guards with criminal records. All those intending to work as security guards must produce relevant documents showing that they don’t have any security breach records and the police will be involved in the vetting process. All guards put on security uniforms and badges whenever they are working for easy identification. To make sure that guards are effective in their work, the security department should design a two-shift system where one group of guards work during the day and a similar number work at night.
There is an urgent need to replace the fence as a trip around the institution reveals that the fence surrounding the university does longer serve its purpose. The administration may want to consider building a concrete fence around the school to replace the chain-link fence. The concrete fence is more durable than a chain link fence and it’s easy to maintain. In this regard, the University should consult a company by the name of Beeson Fence Builder which specializes in fence building. This company will be in a position to give further recommendations on the fence design around and inside the university.
Access to the university should be strict and controlled to block strangers from accessing the university. All those accessing the university should go through a security check to ascertain their mission in the institution compound. As part of the security measure, all students should carry with them the Chip Embedded Identification Card which will be used electronically in accessing any facility within the university. Visitors should be issued with a security pass which they will be required to display the entire time they will be in the school compound.
Modernization of the university alarm system is yet another strategy that will improve security. The administration should consider consulting the company operating the alarms system in a bid to switch to a digitalized alarm system with noise, motion, and smoke detection and reporting system. The system will be linked with the security department control room which will be manned 24 hours a day for quick response. As part of the security system, analog security cameras should be replaced with Internet Protocol cameras systems with high storage capacity for advanced and remote surveillance.
When all these strategies are adopted and implemented, Webster University will be a safe environment for students, members of staff and the institution’s properties will be safe. The administration does not have much choice but to implement these strategies within the shortest time possible if student confidence is to be restored. With restored confidence, students can concentrate on the most important issue of learning. The administration on the other hand will be able to concentrate on other issues pertaining to the university administration knowing very well that there is a department dedicated to the security issue.
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Security Solutions, 2008, Web.