Is my child safe?
We proactively seek to provide a safe and secure environment for all those living on and visiting our campus. We do so by using several methods. The most visible is the presence of uniformed police officers who utilize several methods to patrol the campus.
We work closely with other university departments using a team approach which seeks to educate on a wide variety of safety and crime prevention topics.
We also use the latest technology in our communication center to assist us in providing a safe and secure campus. Though no campus can say they are 100% safe, we take pride that we have been able to work as a community in keeping Fitchburg State University a place conducive to learning and personal growth.
We offer a few suggestions that can continue this team approach to campus safety.
Encourage your student to:
- Lock their room door. Even though they “know everyone on her floor,” they can’t control for guests and visitors strolling the hallways. The same applies to off-campus residences. Students never know who might make their way into the neighborhood. Ask who is at the door before opening it. The residence hall community does not have to be as informal as they think.
- Walk with a buddy late at night or in potentially dangerous situations.
- Be smart about their use of alcohol and other drugs. Being under the influence makes it difficult for students to think clearly.
- Get to know the University Police officers.
- Be careful about the information they choose to share online. Whether it is an away message or a post on a social networking site, more people have access to their profiles than they think.
- Keep their whereabouts “under wraps.” Posting their schedule on their door or online is not a good idea.
- Keep their vehicle locked and store valuables out of sight—and be cautious and aware when approaching their vehicle late at night.
- Treat the campus grounds with respect. Vandalizing and damaging directional signs, fire extinguishers and other safety equipment costs the University valuable funds and effort that could be directed to other areas. Plus, those items won’t be available when a real emergency strikes.
- Follow campus policies—they are in place for students’ safety.
- Report suspicious activity to the appropriate campus officials, even if it’s “just a hunch.” Their tip may be one of many being received about an individual or action taking place. Tips can also be submitted by using the anonymous witness form or the Rave Guardian App.
What should they do if they need help?
We are open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, even during campus shut downs and breaks. If your child needs help, we are a great place to start and they can do so by calling our communication center at 978.665.3111, or from one of the many call boxes on campus.
Even if the issue is non–criminal or not an emergency situation, we are able to contact any member of the university staff, such as Counseling Services and Housing, if the need arises. Each police officer is trained and experienced in dealing with the unique type of concerns college life brings and are able to assist in various ways.
Inside each on-campus dorm are trained Resident Life Staff that work closely with our department and are also available to assist your child if they are unable to contact us directly. Resident Assistants (R.A.s) are peers who are experienced in campus living and can answer and address many questions and concerns that your child may feel uncomfortable asking a member of the university staff.
How often do the police patrol?
We patrol the campus and surrounding community twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, utilizing marked cruisers and mountain bikes as well as patrolling on foot. When not responding to calls, officers can be seen patrolling the streets, lots, and buildings on campus, as well as any areas near the campus that our students frequent, such as the off-campus residences. We want to make ourselves available to our students when they need us.
What are the crime stats on campus?
Crime statistics meet the requirements set forth by the federal government Uniform Crime Reporting and the Clery Reporting Act. Under these guidelines, crime statistics are published every October for the previous calendar year. Universities are also required to publish and make available crime statistics and prevention information.
What if a campus emergency occurs?
If an emergency occurs on campus, regardless of size, the Fitchburg State University Police are ready to respond. During the school year, a team of well-trained student volunteers that are trained at the First Responder Level to assist us in any medical situation is also available. We also maintain a great working relationship with the City of Fitchburg Police and Fire, Massachusetts State Police and community hospitals.
We have the ability to lock down the campus with a click of a mouse from our communication center, as well as send out information in a timely manner using various means of media. These include the RAVE alert system and social media such as Facebook (@FitchburgStateUniversityPolice), Twitter (@FSUPD), and the University's email system.
What policies does the University have in place to deal with complex psychological issues?
We are experienced and trained in dealing with the diverse community that attends our university. As a department, we embrace the community caretaking philosophy and are willing to assist any individual who may need help.
We will attempt to utilize the resources available on campus, such as Counseling Services and Student Services, as well as other resources and agencies in and around the city. If your child has special diagnoses that we should be aware of (Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum disorder, or other social or psychological issues), it is best for them to let us and Health Services know in advance of them attending.
This information will be handled with care and confidentiality but allows us to respond and assist them with foreknowledge.
What about getting around campus after dark?
We understand that walking at night can be worrisome, regardless of where you live. We not only attempt to identify and address any dark spots on campus but provide transportation and safety escorts for our students. If your child locates an area on campus they feel that should be illuminated better, they can contact us or submit a work request to Capital Planning and Maintenance to have the area addressed.
Your child can take advantage of the Mart Shuttle, which is free to all community members that have a current Fitchburg State One Card. The shuttle runs until midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 6:30 p.m. on Friday. During the time the shuttle is not in operation, we offer a safety escort program. Your child can call us at 978.665.3111 or by using a nearby emergency call box to request a safety escort.
Depending on the circumstances, either an officer or a member of the Student Security Team will escort them from their current location to destination.
How safe are the residence halls?
Campus living is a unique experience and is encouraged for all first year students, as it builds and encourages a sense of community and campus involvement. It is often the first time students are on their own and not living in the familiar setting of their own home. Fitchburg State University has taken steps to increase safety within the residence halls but ultimately it requires vigilance on behalf of the students.
- Release propped doors to residence halls or other buildings on campus. Propped doors may compromise the overall security measures in place.
- Deny strangers access to their residence hall (by not letting in people behind them)—even if they think the person is a student. Even though it can be hard to confront a stranger and deny access, their diligence will help keep everyone that much safer.
All residence halls on campus require the student to use their One Card to enter the building and their room. Where elevators are present, their One Card will be required to call the elevator to the first floor. This prevents unauthorized access to the living areas. There are cameras in the lobby area that are monitored by the Communication officer in our dispatch center, which also has the capability to see who is swiping their One Card at any of the door access control panels around campus. Our communication center can also monitor when doors are held open for an extended period of time, or forced open, which will in turn prompt them to dispatch an officer to investigate.
The University also utilizes a desk attendant who has the ability to contact us at all first-year residence halls.
If you have specific concerns as a parent, you may feel free to contact a member of the University Police Department or a member of Housing who may answer any specific concern you may have.
How safe are the parking lots?
We cover parking lots on our patrol of campus, as well as part of our regular rounds of parking enforcement. All lots either have either a call box or camera(s) that connects to our communication center. Just as the overall safety of a community is dependent on the vigilance of the community, so too is the safety of our university grounds, buildings and parking lots. As with all parking lots, always be aware of your surroundings. Never leave valuables visible in your car. Secure your vehicle at all times, even if you are only planning to leave it unattended for a short period.
We thank you for taking your time to learn what we are doing to keep you child safe while they attend our university. Please feel free to contact us at University Police if you have any other questions or concerns. We are striving to provide the best and safest learning environment possible.