SALT LAKE CITY – The violent death on the University of Utah campus on Monday night is likely to have parents wondering if their college students are safe on campus. And it has sparked nationwide interest in campus security.
Lauren McCluskey, 21, died after being shot by a man she recently dated. A few hours later, he took his own life.
The Deseret News has asked experts across the country to talk about how universities and colleges improve security, what challenges exist, and how parents and students can help. She did not ask the experts to directly comment on McCluskey's death as this investigation is ongoing.
Experts say security is one of the biggest challenges for colleges ̵
The campus has responded to violence and other security incidents with everything from technology tools and more staff to programs that enhance students' skills, such as self-defense. Students are often even taught how to intervene safely as bystanders.
"I think it's fair to say that colleges and universities, not just their police and public safety agencies, are constantly looking for ways to prevent crime, especially violent crimes against students, faculty and staff," says Jeff Allison , Director of Government and External Relations for the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement.
Schools learn from each other's bad experiences, he says.
Allison says government statistics and studies all suggest that young adults who go to college are generally safer than peers who are not enrolled. And the campus-related crimes have been on the decline for years, though some types of crime have proven to be more resilient than others.
According to the Ministry of Education, sexual assaults have not or only slightly decreased. Alcohol and drug abuse remain major issues – and violence and drug abuse are often interlinked, with drug use leading to violence. Alcohol is also No. 1, according to Allison, which puts the students themselves at risk.
Dating – Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking Again and Again Lead to Prevention of These Crimes
"We are just beginning to address the extent of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking in colleges," says S. Daniel Carter , President of Safety Advisors for Educational Campus, which deals with campus security issues. "At the national level, we do not have that much comparable data, but we know that dating is an important issue for college students across the country."
According to the federal guidelines, dating violence is violence of a person who is or was in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. Domestic violence affects people who live or have lived together. They are among the more complex security problems that universities try to prevent every year.
"Our top priority for campus safety is that of human life," says Jeff Graviet, director of emergency management services at the University of Utah. "The question is, how can we equip the students with as much skill as possible – knowledge, tools and protection – to deal with it?"
That's a question that thousands of higher education institutions rethink every day. Also Parents and Students
In 2016, burglaries were by far the biggest crime at colleges. But the Department of Education had reports on nearly 6,700 violent on-campus rape, 4,000 serious abuses, 3,600 stroking cases, 70 legal rape and 41 murders, and a handful of negligent homicides.
Carter Says the Destiny (19659002) Colleges need to provide housing when possible, when one student feels threatened, even if the other party is not connected to the school, he says. For example, if the student lives in campus apartments, the college might allow an apartment change, provided that another apartment is available. Classes can be changed, or work assignments on campus.
Campi has expressly sought to ensure that students, faculty, and staff know what to do, according to Abigail Boyer, interim executive director of The Clery Center. The center, a non-profit organization for campus safety, was founded by family and others after Jeanne Clery, 19, was raped and murdered in her dorm in 1986. Congress also named the law that sets out the requirements for fighting crime at US colleges and universities.  Among the security issues that schools and individuals consider include: "Did you find out what an abusive relationship looks like and are we ready to intervene?" Boyer says:
Institutions need to have an answer and specific guidelines to cope with such situations, she notes.
When it comes to campus crimes, sexual assault numbers have been devastating. Carter says that 1 in 4 or 5 students become victims of sexual assault in their early years, though the crime can not occur on campus. These numbers have been relatively persistent, he adds. But it varies greatly from school to school – from half of the students of an outlier school to one in eight pupils in another outlier on the other side, he says. "Most were in the middle and because of the confidentiality of the study, we do not know which schools are outliers."
Data on sexual assault are also tricky: Some studies indicate that university hospitals are losing weight while others are contradicting (Allison)
On the other hand, parents and students who view a school's safety and crime reports should be reminded that high numbers can not mean that a school has more crimes than lower-income schools. This school may be much better at collecting data, or have an environment where students feel safe when reporting crimes, Boyer says.
Murder on campus is definitely less common than other crimes, Carter says.
Data the Deseret News The result was inconsistent and ranged between 20 and 45 per year in the United States, over 6,000 institutions and sometimes several universities.
Colleges Put Many A Tools To Improve Campus Security
The US has created an emergency manual that is available in print and in a related digital app version is. It is not meant to be a resource in an emergency, says Graviet, but before danger arises, individuals know what to do. For example, it includes instructions on what to do during an active shooter event or weather emergency, or if you encounter a suspicious package.
They also have direct emergency phones on campus parking, which go directly to campus police. Many American colleges and universities employ similar guides and tools.
Colleges nationwide have every campus alarm systems that send texts, phone and e-mail alerts to students, parents, faculty, staff and others. The Monday night warning from the U. warned its 55,000 member community of an active shooter and told campus receivers to protect in place. Shortly thereafter, it provided information about the suspect. The alarm was updated on a regular basis, eventually telling the receivers if the campus was considered safe so people could move again.
The campi are "strong" compared to a city of comparable size in terms of warning the population against the danger. "We are extremely strong in terms of communication, protection and education, and I believe that some of the safest places in our country are campuses, which does not mean that it is completely safe because it is an open campus, if someone wants to do harm 'It's pretty hard to know that in advance.'
Nevertheless, universities are trying everywhere, these experts agree. And the federal government has set some standards through the Clery Act and other laws that they must meet. Each college that receives public funding must, among other things, publish safety information and provide crime data every year.
Universities have also brought cameras to the campus, which are monitored around the clock. Many offer rape aggression and other self defense training. Orientations routinely contain safety information. And colleges are hiring consultants and others in record numbers to help with anxiety and other mental health problems.
Often, schools even have their own apps that connect students with resources and tell them where to report security concerns or reach victim advocates or public safety. For example, the U. has the SafeU app. BYU has a similar app called Y-Alert and its SafeWalk feature so students can follow the BYU police when they walk alone. They may push an emergency button when needed, says BYU spokesman Todd Hollingshead  What Parents Can Do, Pupils Can
Allison Suggests Parents and Students Consider A School What Kind of Crime Prevention Services and sacrificial services are available through college. You should think about what kind of training campus police offers to students and their relationship with outside law enforcement agencies.
You also need to remember that campus or community security is a shared responsibility, he says. Students should always be aware of their environment and make good decisions "where to go, who they are going with" and use alcohol or other substances that may impair their judgment and reactions or cause safety issues.
Boyer tells parents that they should start making safety talks with their children early and keeping them as the students grow up. Alcohol and drugs, relationships and danger recognition are just a few of the ongoing conversations parents and children should make.
"Prevention education should not start in higher education – we know that unhealthy relationships do not just start when you go to college," she says.
Other things that parents and students can do to increase safety include:
• Do not wear earbuds or read while walking on campus. Be aware of your surroundings.
• Use a buddy system when traveling at night.
Allison tells his son, who goes to Ohio University, that it does not matter if he's "five big burly buddies". "Someone needs to look after their surroundings and make sure they're safe, remember that this is a 'designated' security guard, he says.
• If the security department of the campus has an escort available late at night or campus has a shuttle system, use that.
• See where the security tools are direct -659002] • Do not hesitate to dial 911 on your cell if you feel threatened.
• Report poorly lit or burned areas Avoid them when walking alone.
• When selecting schools, be aware of the sound and quality of information presented for safety. Review the Guidelines. (19659050) Comment on this story
• Report personal safety concerns, such as a problem with someone with whom you had a relationship, threats, etc., to the appropriate Univer And when you're on campus for the first time, find out which office or department is making such a report.
How Boyer knows who really needs to be contacted and what services are available is really important. "It goes back to the culture on campus," she says, adding that when people confidently report problems and know that something is being done, safety is improved.