Edinboro ranks nationally among “safest college towns”

Category:  News
Wednesday, October 19th, 2016 at 5:08 PM
Edinboro ranks nationally among “safest college towns” by Patrick Dewey

Edinboro University was recently ranked among the top 30 safest college campuses in the country. This ranking was done by SafeWise, which is described as “an independent website dedicated to reviewing security products."

College towns, such as Princeton, New Jersey, and Amherst, Massachusetts, were also on the “safest college towns in America” list. Other colleges in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education on the list include Millersville and Slippery Rock.

The “safest college towns in America” list is based on an examination of FBI crime statistics and safety-related programs for the various universities. At Edinboro University, a new safety app known as “EU Shield” was introduced this summer, which played a role in the university earning a place on the list.

According to Edinboro University’s Director of Communications Jeffrey Hileman, the EU Shield system can provide emergency alerts by email, text and on social media.

The feeling was that emergency communication should be provided in methods preferred by students. The app provides emergency procedures at your fingertips,” Hileman said.

He continued, “One of the challenges [with] emergency communication is that people have a wide variety of roles, schedules and habits. People may be isolated and unable to log on to a website, so the app provides mobile access to emergency related information and procedures that can be accessed in a variety of locations on a mobile device."

According to Hileman, emergency procedures were previously posted on the Edinboro University website, but were not as readily available on mobile devices.

The EU Shield system has other features, such as an emergency call button. Another part of the app allows students to be alerted about the location of someone else. If alone, a student can set the app to alert a friend of their location, enabling friends to have knowledge of each other’s location and safety. This part of the app is known as “friend watch.”

Students have a variety of perspectives regarding whether the use of technology and other techniques to keep Edinboro University safe are effective.

Edinboro University student Darrin Reese expressed that while Edinboro makes effective use of technology, they do not always give enough details about safety issues that arise.

“One of the things that is done well at EU [Edinboro University] is the implementation of the blue light system, which allows us to alert the police," Reese said.

He continued, “I applaud them [Edinboro University] for doing what they can, but I think there are a lot of situations that could be handled a lot better.”

Another Edinboro University student, James Convard, shared that he felt overall campus safety efforts are effective.

“Within the past two years, there was a time we had multiple shootings off campus within a short time. We were locked down for a period of time (until it was deemed safe),” Convard said.

He continued, “During this time we got emails and were kept up to date. We have text alerts, email alerts, alarm systems and other technology that for the most part keeps us well informed about safety issues on campus."

"We really encourage our students, faculty and staff to download the EU Shield app,” Hileman said.

Hileman continued, “Edinboro is a tight- knit community where people really look out for each other. If they see something unsafe, individuals will frequently report this to the police, not because of wanting to rat someone out, but because they want to keep the campus community safe.”

Hileman also commented on instances where the university has faced safety issues.

“We do have incidents from time to time and when this happens people get very alarmed. The reason they get alarmed is because it is out of character when a major safety issue happens here (Edinboro).”

The EU shield app is available for students to download for free on the Apple App Store and on Google Play. 

Patrick Dewey is a staff writer for The Spectator. 

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