Very real crime: on and off campus

Guns on campus. It's never going to end well.

Real university crime

I’ve written before about the very different approaches in the US to campus security including this piece on universities buying up military hardware and the acquisition by one university of an armoured truck.

A recent incident at Cincinnati reinforced this where an armed university security officer shot and killed a non-student off campus. Inside Higher Ed has a full report on the fall out from this event which really has been a shock even in a country where many thousands die in gun-related incidents every year.

Campus police. Armed and dangerous
Campus police. Armed and dangerous

This all just seems utterly extraordinary in a UK context and is a world away from the really relatively innocuous events described in True Crime on Campus.

The Chronicle reports on the different approaches to university security and how campus forces and the Police work together. It also asks why university security officers are armed and reveals that a surprisingly large proportion of them do carry weapons.

Cincinnati is hardly the only institution to arm its force. About 75 percent of officers at four-year institutions were allowed to carry arms in 2011-12, the Justice Department reported.

That’s an increase of nearly 10 percentage points from 2004-5, and the trend is likely to continue. Colleges are “leaning more favorably” toward arming their officers, Mr. Perry [vice president for safety and chief of police at Florida State University] says, “to quickly address the many dangers that we see faced.”

About 40 percent of sworn officers also carry stun guns, according to the data. Nearly all carry pepper spray and batons. Both campus and city officers also get frequent training in a tactic called “verbal judo,” which teaches them to ease tension in a situation that could otherwise get violent.

It’s a very different set up to the UK. All of this though just brings you back to the massive problems of the gun culture in US society and reinforces that weapons should have no place on campuses.

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