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Kathleen Baty is the CEO of SafetyChick Enterprises, whose mission is to change the way Personal Safety is marketed to women. Kathleen has been a featured speaker at a number of global events, including the National Association of Threat Assessment Professionals Conference (ATAP), in addition to being a regular contributor on The Today Show.
In the lead up to the event Kathleen took the time to speak to us around student threats, the role of technology in enabling smart safety choices and the importance of a University’s attitude in creating a secure campus environment.
Ensuring student security is a complex and evolving challenge for security teams and campus management. What do you see as the main threats for students today?
Kathleen: While school shootings dominate the media these days, the chance of being a victim of a school shooter on campus is very rare. The main threat to students mostly stems from their personal safety choices. Accidents associated with binge drinking, incidents of sexual assault and the prevalent use of date rape drugs seem to be the most common dangers students are faced with.
Do you see technology playing an important part in enabling students to make smart safety choices?
Kathleen: Technology certainly has advanced to help people in their time of need. There are several personal safety apps out there to protect students and faculty on campuses. There are some great SmartPhone Apps directed towards women to protect them against sexual assault – Circle of 6 (available on iPhone and Android) is one of the best available. Many US campuses have emergency texting/location apps in place that allow anyone on campus to communicate directly with the Campus Police. These apps are a great addition to the emergency “Blue Light” phones that some campuses have adopted.
What do you feel are the key barriers in creating a secure campus environment?
Kathleen: I feel the key barriers in creating a secure campus environment stems from the attitude of the University itself. Creating an environment that is safe and secure comes from the inside out. Making the commitment to CARE about personal safety is where is begins. Education is the key. Taking the time to educate students on how to make smart personal safety choices is vital to creating an empowered and positive campus. Caring about your personal safety is the greatest gift you can give yourself, whether you are the Dean of students or an incoming freshman, it all starts with you.
You are speaking at the Campus & Student Security event in June in Melbourne. What are you hoping to get out of the event? Are there any particular presentations or discussions you are particularly looking forward to?
Kathleen: I am ecstatic about having the opportunity to participate in this wonderful conference in Australia. I am looking forward to ALL of it! I am so curious to hear the differences and/or similarities between the US and Australia when it comes to Campus Security and its challenges. I am eager to share some creative and innovative programs that some of the US Campuses have put together to help students stay safe from crime. I have a feeling we will have A LOT to talk about. I can’t wait.