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The dark and desolate campus: what can be done to enhance students’ perceptions of safety on-campus?

Nicola Roberts (Nicola Roberts is based at the School of Social Sciences, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK)

Safer Communities

ISSN: 1757-8043

Article publication date: 25 May 2022

Issue publication date: 18 July 2022

539

Abstract

Purpose

Given their young age, students are at a heightened risk of violent victimisation. Yet few studies have considered students’ perceptions of safety and the impact of these, on a British university campus. The purpose of this research was to close this gap.

Design/methodology/approach

From late 2019–2020, using an online university wide survey, data was gathered over a three-month period from 550 students studying at a university in the north of England on “city” campuses about their perceptions of safety and security on-campus.

Findings

Students, particularly women students, felt unsafe on the university campuses because of poor lighting, limited CCTV, security patrols and the presences of others. They felt unsafe in and around teaching buildings, moving around the campuses and in transport locations.

Research limitations/implications

The response rate of the survey was 6%. Consequently, the findings are not representative of the wider student population on the campuses.

Practical implications

Campus Security should consider enhancing surveillance on the campuses.

Social implications

Students, particularly women, limited the time they spent on-campus studying because they felt unsafe. Their choices about when and how to engage in their university education were therefore restricted.

Originality/value

This study addresses the gap in research on students’ perceptions of safety and the impact of these, on a British university campus. In doing so, it forefronts the responsibility of higher education institutions to enhance students’ safety, including their perceptions of safety, on-campus.

Keywords

Citation

Roberts, N. (2022), "The dark and desolate campus: what can be done to enhance students’ perceptions of safety on-campus?", Safer Communities, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 157-170. https://doi.org/10.1108/SC-01-2022-0006

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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