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Why Campus Security Needs Texting

With instances of gun violence and other emergency situations on college campuses making the news all too often, security systems at colleges and universities remain of the utmost importance. Campus security not only needs to be strong, but current to ensure the safety of students. Following the model of many of our world's functions today, many colleges and universities are looking to text messaging to keep campus safety as modern and powerful as possible.

Many U.S. college students are familiar with semesterly tests of university emergency systems interrupting their text and email inboxes. While students may feel troubled with what seem like unnecessary messages, SMS-based emergency systems are an increasingly important feature of campus safety.

A large proportion of institutions use software that enables them to mass text public safety alerts to a database of student cell phone numbers. This application of this technology is simple and familiar, calling to mind programs like Amber Alert, but powerful. As of a 2010 survey, 99.8% of college students have cell phones, giving SMS a great breadth of reach among student populations.

Not only is text messaging the most effectively wide-reaching medium when contacting students, it is also the most efficient and effective way to contact students. A 2014 study indicates that college students spend, on average, between eight and ten hours on their phones each day, with many reporting that they are uncomfortable when their phones are not in sight. This enormous volume of cell phone use among college students, paired with the apparent inseparability of students from their phones, makes texting their phones the best, and fastest, way to get in touch with students.

Additionally, several programs exist that allow students to give anonymous tips to authorities when they think something may be amiss. Many institutions and authorities offer specific numbers that students can text to initiate a tip if they see something suspicious, and applications such as TipSoft afford similar functions. Anonymous tips are an invaluable way for public safety authorities to gather real-time data on potential threats where they may not always have eyes, but where students may be.

By bringing the ability to issue anonymous tips to SMS, institutions make anonymous tipping as quick, easy, and convenient as possible for college students. With a large proportion of students having their phones on them most of the time, and with texting being even more accessible to students than web pages or online forms, SMS tips are an important step in encouraging more students to report suspicious activity. Texting is also ideal for the reporting of time-sensitive matters, as issues of public safety often are, allowing for rapid transmission and receipt of information. Clearly, SMS and security share a rich future.

About the Author -
Sharon Housley is the VP of Marketing for NotePage, Inc. a software company for communication software solutions.


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