University of Bridgeport (UB) is the safest campus in Connecticut, according to a national study released this week by ADT.
UB earned the No. 1 ranking among Connecticut colleges and universities after ADT, a home-security company, reviewed fire and crime statistics collected by the FBI and U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education.
Colleges and universities of at least 1,000 students were ranked for top slots in all 50 states based on a variety of factors, including schools’ location and types of crime and other incidents reported to national agencies.
Executive Director of UB Campus Security April J. Vournelis said the Safest College recognition “goes to our officers.”
Student safety and the physical well-being of faculty, administrators, and others at the University is always our top priority at Campus Security,” Vournelis said. “Our division constantly reviews safety protocols and resources, It conducts tabletop drills other ongoing training, and it works with partner agencies to ensure that we’re doing everything possible to keep people safe.”
All new employees and students to UB, for instance, are given devices, called PALs (Personal Alarm Locators), their first day on campus. When pressed, PALs set off an alarm to Campus Security dispatchers. The tiny gadgets, which can be attached to key fobs, also identify users and pinpoint their precise location, ensuring that health and safety personnel immediately respond to emergencies.
In addition, 40 security officers on foot patrol, bike, and in vehicles patrol the campus around-the-clock, seven days a week. Highly visible, the patrols, which are under contract by Securitas Safety Services, respond to requests for safety escorts, reports of suspicious activity, and other incidents.
UB also “works with the Bridgeport Police Department and Chief AJ Perez, the Fire Department, and other law-enforcement and health-and-safety agencies to ensure that every person who steps onto the University of Bridgeport is safe and secure,” Vournelis said.
Then, speaking more personally, Vournelis added, “Being born in Bridgeport myself, I was hurt when I heard people say it wasn’t safe to be at UB. Those words have driven me to change that perception. I have been beyond lucky to have support so I could change the views of others and show how campus is.”
In fact, UB safety has not gone unnoticed, and this is not the first time that it has won top marks for safety. UB is the recipient of a national Jeanne Clery Campus Award, given to schools that have “done extraordinary things to make college and university students safer.”