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Negligent Security on Massachusetts College Campuses

College is an important time of exploration, in your educational studies and in your personal life as well. Massachusetts is home to some of the finest academic institutions in the world, and students should be able to navigate their young adulthood with confidence and without fear of being victimized. As such, if you or a loved one was harmed, injured or otherwise negatively impacted by a lack of proper security at a college campus, contact the Cambridge personal injury attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP today.

As we work and live in Cambridge, Boston and the surrounding metro area, we understand the great responsibility universities bear to keep their students safe. When they fail to take this responsibility seriously, we will hold them accountable.

Responsibility of Safety

In today’s climate, security is something on everybody’s mind, and institutions such as colleges and universities have a dire responsibility to ensure that their premises are as safe as possible from potential threats to the students and faculty that populate their grounds and buildings every day.

Most larger universities will have a dedicated security force, and many have their own police forces with certain jurisdictional powers to ensure a safe and secure atmosphere around the school. Having a presence of security or police around the campus, in and of itself, is an effective measure at preventing many possible crimes and deterring would be criminals from conducting illegal activity.

However, other measures should go hand-in-hand with having dedicated personnel focused on maintaining safety and order. Doors should have working, effective locks that allow only authorized students and faculty to enter with the use of registered ID cards or other form of identification. There should be no building with open access to the public without a security guard or police officer at the front of the entryway to ensure everybody walking in has a reason to be there.

Elsewhere, cameras should be utilized throughout the campus to ensure that any illicit activity or crime is captured to assist in the capture and prosecution of the culprit or culprits. Again, the presence of cameras can work as a crime deterrent, since it shows would-be criminals there is a strong law enforcement presence keeping a watchful eye on them.

Other good implementations for safety include emergency phone booths that dial directly to campus police or a local 9-1-1 dispatch. These kiosks could be placed throughout public grounds, such as a quad or open green space area, where students may be susceptible to being chased or assaulted. If the student is able to successfully alert police or security that they are being followed or feel unsafe, it could mean the difference between them being victimized or avoiding such a fate.

Ample lighting in areas that get dark, again such as quads or outdoor parks, is essential to ensure that attackers cannot take advantage of the cover of darkness to stalk students when they are most vulnerable.

Examples of Security Negligence

There are many ways in which the professional personal injury attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP could establish a school was negligent in its responsibility to establish and maintain a safe learning environment for its students. Some example scenarios could include:

  • A university fails to replace a series of burnt out bulbs in streetlights that illuminate a popular walking path. A student is sexually assaulted when she travels through a darkened area on a late-night job after getting out of class. Had the lights been maintained, the attacker would not have been able to surprise the student so easily.

  • A student gets mugged in front of a university building. He loses precious family heirlooms, and the mugger is not captured because the university does not actually save camera footage in its servers.

  • A disturbed individual not affiliated with the university attacks several students in the library with a knife. He was not screened or even observed by a security guard, despite the library being located on a main public drag accessible by anyone walking by.

If you or a loved one was harmed due to the negligence of a university failing to uphold its responsibility to keep its students safe, contact the professional personal injury attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP online or by phone for a free consultation to go over the details of your case today. We can be reached at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199 and are available 24/7.

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