U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Campus Violence Prevention and Response: Best Practices for Massachusetts Higher Education

NCJ Number
Daniel O'Neill; James Alan Fox Ph.D.; Roger Depue Ph.D.; Elizabeth Englander P.h.D
Date Published
June 2008
127 pages
After examining the current state of security and violence-prevention efforts at Massachusetts' institutions of higher learning, this study proposed 27 recommendations designed to assist these institutions improve their security and violence-prevention efforts.
A review of the nature and scope of campus violence both nationally and in Massachusetts found that violent crime, particularly homicide, is rare both nationally and in Massachusetts. Violent crime at Massachusetts public colleges and universities typically occurs within dormitories late at night in the context of an argument. Violent acts usually involve little or no injury to the victims, and victims and offenders usually know each other. A set of "best practices" recommendations commonly accompanies 20 previous reports on campus violence. This report outlines these recommendations. Site visits to five Massachusetts public colleges and universities found that types of security training had been conducted at the institutions by the FBI and the Massachusetts State Police. Mass notification systems for students and staff have been implemented, and advanced security equipment has been issued to campus police officers, including weapons, vehicles, and communication systems. Multidisciplinary weekly threat assessment team meetings are held. Sixteen findings are reported on specific security measures that are being used in Massachusetts colleges and universities. Of the 27 recommendations for improving security at Massachusetts higher education institutions, 3 pertained to early detection and prevention; four related to physical and electronic security; 4 focused on the campus police department; 2 addressed mass notification; 9 addressed policies and procedures; and 5 recommendations related to emergency response. The report advises that these recommendations should not be addressed in isolation, but rather in the context of the campus's approach to prevention and security. This means taking into account the views of a wide array of stakeholders in consultation with experts. Appended recommendations, survey questions and results, and supplementary articles from the research team