ECU hosts campus safety conference
Event introduces latest technology
Michael Harrington, Staff Writer
November 30, 2004
ECU hosted a campus safety conference Nov. 18, at the Murphy Center, with officials from 36 universities and organizations, and eight product vendors in attendance to discuss the best ways to maintain a safe atmosphere on college campuses.
The event allowed different schools from around the state to compare their methods and the security measures in place at their respective universities. They were then presented with power point presentations from eight different vendors offering the latest campus safety technology.
Barry Duvall, director of the Center for Wireless and Mobile Computing, organized this event to address existing problems with campus safety and to hopefully fix these problems with the latest security technologies that were presented by the eight product vendors.
"We feel technology is going to help us," said Duvall.
James Leroy Smith, interim vice chancellor of Academic Affairs, said during his speech, which opened the conference, the main reason they held this event is to make sure students are comfortable on their campuses.
"We want our students to be safe," said Smith.
Representatives from various NC schools followed the welcoming remarks of Smith by discussing the main safety concerns on their campuses and how they are addressing them.
Wake Forest University now requires an identification card or a student sponsor to gain access to campus, which has led to a 22 percent reduction in their crime rate. The cards are also used to gain access to residence halls.
North Carolina Central University's biggest safety concern has been larceny, which they addressed by providing more lighting in certain areas of campus.
While these and the rest of the schools attending the conference have all taken steps on their campuses to improve safety, the eight product vendors in attendance all offered new and innovative technology that can make campuses even safer.
The presentations all included technology that will allow a victim to alert authorities to a crime the second it happens through personal alarm devices that are activated through the press of a button.
The Code Blue Corporation, Linear Corporation, Grace Industries, CISCOR Corporation, Bosch Security Systems and The Phoenix Group International all presented derivations of a handheld device that works off censors on campus.
The basic idea of this technology is to allow a victim or witness of a crime to press a button on their handheld device, which will be picked up by a censor on campus and will within seconds alert authorities to the victim's location and identity through a computer system.
This technology is a more advanced version of the blue light panic system ECU uses where a student can press a button at certain locations on campus and alert authorities to a crime or problem.
The fact the new technology is personalized would cut down on prank alerts because the student triggering the alarm would be identified through the computer system.
Nextel Communications and Cingular Wireless were the other two vendors on hand and they presented variations of cellular phones which serve the same functions of the personal alert devices.
The phones offer panic buttons through global positioning systems that will alert authorities to the whereabouts of the victim within seconds. Since they are phones they can take the place of existing phone systems on campus.
Barry Duvall said he hopes to organize a second conference in the spring to gauge the progress of all the attendees of the conference in making their campuses more secure.