Campus safety takes on many different meanings depending on the context in which it is presented. Take a moment to think about what campus safety means to you: is it confidence that your room and belongings are secure? Perhaps knowing that your vehicle is safe from theft on campus? Maybe it’s feeling safe around your peers? When asking any Rocky Mountain College student, you will likely garner a different response. However, in a general sense, students seem to respond with “a sense of security in safety.”
The RMC campus safety webpage cites their commitment “to maintain a safe and secure environment conducive to all the activities found at an institute of higher learning.” While student and faculty member’s views on safety seem relatively well-aligned, there is a third party that must be considered as well.
In the event of an emergency during which the patrols are unavailable, looming blue poles with lights shimmering in the night offer a one button hotline to the nearest campus safety official. Night monitors stationed at dorm room reception desks, assisted by cameras and sound-operated door monitors, prevent unwanted guests from entering residence halls.
Awareness and training campaigns are hosted frequently and are often required for first-year students to attend.
With all the efforts put in place to minimize any major threats, it is easy to lose sight of personal safety measures students can do to help keep their community safe. So, what can you do to ensure you and those surrounding you create a safer campus?
One primary tactic to prevent loss of property is to ensure your vehicle, dorm, and other miscellaneous items remain securely locked while they are not in use. It’s easy to become comfortable on campus to the point of leaving a car unlocked, so a friend can grab their books or propping open a dorm door to allow guests to come and go. Many cases of theft occur around those we trust; safeguards in place doesn’t tell your friends you don’t trust them, but rather that you care for your own well-being and theirs as well.
Also, in the name of well-being; self-defense is vital. Carrying something as simple as pepper spray is an easy, cheap, and efficient way to ward off possible theft, sexual assault, or simply unwanted behavior. Self-defense courses offered in downtown Billings as little as $20 and can teach lifelong skills and awareness. However, each of these protective measures are rendered moot without awareness.
Rocky Mountain College and the city of Billings are required to publish a crime report each year; links to each of these statistical documents can be easily located through Rocky.edu or the Billings city website. Being aware of the crime rates surrounding you allows you to be better prepared for defense should it happen to you, a friend, or a loved one.
RMC prides itself on being one of the safest campus environments in Montana. When it comes to security, we have an excellent system in place. However, vigilance is key and we all must continue do our part to keep fellow students and members of the community protected.