Administrator: University receives high marks in safety review

The outside firm tasked with reviewing campus security and safety risks gave GW an overall positive review, but highlighted community outreach as an area for improvement, a top administrator said Thursday.

The University hired Security Risk Management Consultants, Inc. to pinpoint holes in its campus safety system through a six-month study completed in December. The firm’s report mainly validated programs and policies already in place, especially for threat assessment and crime analysis, Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell said.

“It found that we’re basically doing our job,” he said. “It found that, overall, we’re in a good position to adequately address our safety and security needs now and as we move into the future.”

Darnell declined to release the formal report because he found it “inappropriate” to comment on the University’s internal security matters, adding that he was “not going to delve into specific recommendations” in favor of discussing the review’s findings in broader categories. He also declined to comment on the cost of contracting the firm.

To improve community outreach regarding existing safety and security initiatives, Darnell plans to ramp up efforts to educate students and parents at Colonial Inauguration and employees at staff orientations. He added that he created a Twitter account last semester to engage directly with students through social media.

University Police Chief Kevin Hay said he looks forward to providing Colonial Cabinet members with information to use during student skits.

“This past year, they took a lot of our information for student skits and they used almost all of it, which made me really happy because our feeling was this: If you have a guy in a uniform up there telling students what to do, they might turn [viewers] off,” Hay said. “If you have a 19- or 20-year-old student doing a skit about a mugging or whatever, they’re more likely to listen.” 

Skits related to safety at this summer’s CI will focus on preventing piggy-backing – also called tailgating – where individuals slip into buildings behind residents after they’ve unlocked the doors, Darnell said.

UPD began cracking down on residence hall access late last semester, reshuffling officers to add monitors at doors in upperclassman buildings after piggy-backing led to multiple crimes.

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