Higher Education Active Shooter Statistics Illustrate Need for Campus Safety Tools


Campus Safety Should Be a Top Priority

Statistics reported by Campus Safety Magazine from the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City highlight the prevalence of gun-related incidents on and near college campuses. According to Campus Safety, “…the CCC looked at 190 incidents at 142 colleges from the 2001-2002 school year through the 2015-2016 school year in which at least one person was intentionally shot (not including the shooter) on two- or four-year college campuses, or incidents that occurred within two miles of a college campus and involved at least one student victim.”

Key statistics from the report include:

  • Incidents of gun violence increased from 12 incidents during the 2010-2011 school year to almost 30 incidents during the 2015-2016 school year.
  • Casualties during the last five school years represented a 241 percent increase compared to casualties during the 2001-2002 to 2005-2006 school years.

Campus safety should be a top priority for any college or university. Regardless of size or location, there are tools and systems higher education facilities can implement to keep students and staff safe. In this blog post, we’ll outline a few ideas colleges and universities can implement to bolster the safety of their learning environments to offer the best protection during emergency events.


When it comes to active shooter strategies, two popular methods are the ALICE Training and Department of Homeland Security’s Run. Hide. Fight. strategy. Free resources, including webinars, workshops and an independent study course are all available from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for human resources and security professionals

The goal of Run. Hide. Fight. is to get people out of the area where the shooter is and to a place where they can contact authorities, preventing others from entering a dangerous situation. If evacuation isn’t an option, people are encouraged to hide somewhere where they are not in the shooter’s view, but also in a place where they are not trapping themselves. As a last resort, DHS recommends trying to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter through loud noises or throwing objects.


The ALICE training is based on five components that make up its name: alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate. To respond to a situation, people first need to be made aware it is happening (alert). They can then lock down the room they are in, especially if it is unsafe to evacuate. When the situation is underway, people should utilize available tools to inform others about the location of the active shooter. Similar to Run. Hide. Fight., disrupting the shooter by creating a distraction should be a last resort (counter). It is important to note that this not considered the same as confronting the shooter to fight them. Finally, once people know it is safe to do so, they can evacuate.

These are just two strategies colleges and universities schools can choose from. Other options may be available, but it is up to each campus to decide which will be most effective when keeping students and staff safe.

Click for more details about THESE TWO ACTIVE SHOOTER STRATEGIES

Building a Connected Campus

One way campuses can enhance safety and communication during active shooter situations is by building a mass notification ecosystem. College and university campuses invest in different devices and systems to help share information during emergencies, but being able to tie those disparate systems together saves time and energy when spreading awareness and coordinating a response.

Every moment matters when an emergency occurs, so campus officials can’t waste time logging in and out of or activating multiple systems. Having a centralized system that can send consistent messaging to on-premises and mobile devices makes it much more likely 100 percent of the campus population receives the safety message. This makes it easier to keep people away from potential dangers and direct personnel to those in need of assistance.

Learn more about the basics of a mass notification ecosystem

Protecting Your Campus Year-Round

Active shooters are just one of a number of emergency scenarios a campus can face. Severe weather, chemical spills, and other events benefit from having a mass notification system that can reach everyone with information about staying out of harm’s way. Different events will require different planning, and the time of year will also have an impact on how events are managed. Colleges and universities will have different resources available to them during summer and winter breaks than during the normal school year. Understand what scenarios your campus will face, who you will notify, how you’ll send messages, and what content those messages will contain. You can also download our 12-month campus safety planning guide for more ideas on how to protect students and staff throughout the year.

Learn more about mass notification in higher education




InformaCast Online Demo