The first few days of being back to school can be a challenging and busy time. Getting well adjusted to the new environment and schedules may take a few days, so it is important to build relationships and foster trust between security and students alike.
Here are a few tips to both Security Officers and students in building trust and a sense of community within your local campus:
- Always carry a campus map with you. Since there is an influx of new students each semester who have never been to a post-secondary environment, a lot of them can easily get lost on campus. It's great to have a map that you can show and give to them if you notice someone looking lost. These little gestures that engage the campus community create a lasting impact and a real difference to the students.
- Engage the campus community. No matter what campus you are assigned in, an ultimate goal is to become an integrated part of the school community. One way of doing so is by engaging with students: make eye contact, or say hi. Not only do these simple actions help deter criminal activity, it also makes security more approachable and seen as an ambassador to the campus rather than a safety enforcement piece.
- Orient yourself with the campus within the first few days of classes. At the beginning of a new year, there are always students who are late or miss classes because they're not familiar with where to park, where their classes are, or where the different buildings are. Security is a great resource for new students so try and familiarize yourself with the different security offices while you are orienting yourself with the campus. Security is able to assist if you are in need of assistance, and can also inform you of great resources you can utilize for the school year ahead (ie. Safer Walk programs, Security apps, etc.)
- Always be vigilant. Thefts spike at the beginning of the semester because would-be criminals know that there is an influx of students in a new environment who are likely to leave their valuables unattended. If you are studying and need to leave for a moment, have a friend watch your bag while you are away or pack everything up and bring it with you. All it takes is a moment for someone to walk away with your laptop and other valuable items.
As security and students walk into a new school year, it is important to foster trust and build a sense of community to help deter potential crime and ensure campus safety.