The important role of cellular in college campus safety

Cell phones have evolved to fill many roles in our lives these days. One of their key roles is in offering peace of mind to parents and students. From hate crimes to mass school shootings, violence on school campuses has become almost commonplace.

Once seemingly exempt from such atrocities, college campuses were the site of 76 shootings between 2013 and 2015. Thirty people were killed and 52 were injured by campus gunfire in 2015 alone. It’s no wonder that when young adults venture off to pursue their dreams of higher education today, there is just as much worry and fear as there is excitement for the future. Because of this, students—and their loved ones—increasingly look to their mobile cellular devices to provide a layer of safety and communication in an emergency.

The role of cellular in safety
Connectivity between students, parents or friends, campus police, apps and other notification systems designed to keep them safe is where cell phones play a crucial role. Although college campuses have long used the blue light towers that allow students to contact campus police, today mobile devices and apps contribute to a heightened sense of well-being since they can provide a layer of security wherever a student may go.

And thanks to the high usage of mobile devices, safety apps have become more prevalent, not to mention easier to use and access. Apps like CampusSafe, Circle of 6, and Guardly put students in touch with emergency contacts and family in the event of an emergency. Apps including EmergeSee enable those on campus to capture time- and date-stamped images on a mobile device, which can be used in a subsequent criminal investigation.

“Safety is increasingly a prime concern for students, and can even be a major deciding factor in where they choose to attend,” CampusSafe Founder Eric Irish told Classroom Aid last year. “If they don’t feel safe, they can’t learn. CampusSafe allows both students and faculty to focus on education, by knowing that help in a dangerous situation is just a push of a button away.”

CampusSafe and similar apps use GPS technology to enable emergency responders to pinpoint the exact location of the user. In the case of CampusSafe, the app can be programmed with important campus websites, prevention tips, and other resources.

Safety apps rely on strong signal
Of course none of these apps can be effective without the presence of strong cellular signal across a campus. They’re only as effective as the signal that keeps them connected. But in these large spaces, maintaining a strong signal can be particularly challenging.

In emergency situations, weak cell signals can quickly become an issue as students and staff attempt to communicate with family members and one another in search of information or help, or to simply check in. Furthermore, many of the building materials used across college campuses—like brick and concrete—inherently impede cellular signals when students and staff need them most.

College campuses today can’t take the chance of putting students and staff at risk because of weak or non-existent cell signal, particularly during an emergency situation. In these instances, it’s a given that students will rely on their phones to solicit help, reach out to other students and friends, and to contact family members to let them know they are safe.

Improving cellular coverage campuswide
Cell signal boosters offer affordable solutions for improving cellular reception across college campuses. Better reception over multiple classrooms and buildings creates efficient communication when signal is weak or in high demand.

A passive distributed antenna system, better-known as signal amplifier, provides a superior solution for colleges for a variety of reasons. Unlike traditional, or active DAS, which requires infrastructure and the installation of costly fiber optics, passive DAS can be implemented at a lower cost and without structural damage. This is key for historic college campuses to retain the integrity of landmark buildings where structure and look cannot be compromised.

Signal amplifier can also be installed zonally—or area by area—to ensure coverage across very large spaces. In addition to providing the peace of mind of increased safety and alert capabilities in an emergency situation, better cell signal can improve the educational experience overall.

Signal amplifier works by capturing existing strong outdoor cell signal and amplifying it where it’s needed most. Because passive DAS offers a carrier-agnostic solution, students and campus staff will be covered with strong cell signal regardless of their cellular service provider.

If you’d like to learn more about improving the safety across your college campus with an improved cellular signal in every building and common area, contact WilsonPro today.

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