Campus Safety

OSU Releases Results of Third-Party Safety Review

The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, recently released the results of an external review of its expanded off-campus safety program. University President Kristina M. Johnson commissioned the review in Sept. 2021, requesting that the university’s public safety team consult with a third-party expert to evaluate the effectiveness of its polices.

The university partnered with Security Risk Management Consultants (SMRC), who “evaluated and reviewed the effectiveness of strategies, plans, programs, resources, tools and tactics utilized by both the university and the city of Columbus to enhance safety and overall perceptions in the off-campus neighborhoods,” according to a university news release.

The move came during an ongoing campus crime wave during fall 2021, including a series of car break-ins and robberies, according to the OSU student newspaper. The university paid $65,000 for the review, which came out of the school’s annual $2 million investment in campus safety during the next ten years, said university spokesman Dan Hedman.

During the review process, SMRC conducted interviews with stakeholders from the university and community, including students and parents; performed examinations on-site, reviewed recent crime statistics and jurisdictional agreements; discussions with subject matter experts; and considered benchmarking with statistics from peer institutions.

The results were largely positive. The university news release reports that SMRC was complimentary of the university’s enhancements to lighting, cameras, free safety devices, increased patrols and more. Some of its recommendations are already in progress, like installing permanent lighting and considering how the university shares crime data. It also commended the university’s ability to shift into “crisis mode” when necessary.

“The off-campus safety measures Ohio State has implemented have been impactful and equal to, or greater than, its peers,” said Paul Denton, an external safety expert from SMRC.

Other recommendations from the report include increasing the university’s engagement with community partners and addressing staffing issues, outreach and education efforts.

“My thanks go to everyone who contributed to the report, including our students and parents who provided input,” said Johnson. The full report is available for free on the OSU website.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].