CAPE GIRARDEAU — Southeast Missouri State University ranks among the best college campuses nationwide for security, according to rankings just released by BestColleges.com.

Best Colleges is a resource for prospective college students and their parents to help students make an educated choice. The website provides insight and knowledge to help students and families make informed decisions about higher education.

“Being in a safe environment goes a long way when it comes to your mental health,” according to BestColleges.com. “In college, knowing you are always safe contributes to your quality of life as well as your learning experience on campus. The schools on this list are being recognized for going above and beyond to keep their students safe.”

The rankings, available online at http://www.bestcolleges.com/features/best-college-campus-security/, are based on annual crime statistics colleges and universities are required to report under the Clery Act of 1998. These crime statistics help parents and students understand the likelihood of being a victim of violence on college campuses, as well as best practices for keeping themselves safe.“This is a testament to the individuals we have working in Public Safety but also a reflection of the commitment we have made over the past few years in terms of facilities and equipment to support our dispatch and public safety officers,” said Kathy Mangels, Southeast vice president for finance and administration.

Doug Richards, director of Southeast’s Department of Public Safety, said Southeast's ranking as one of the best colleges campuses for security is the direct result of the University's efforts over the past several years to put measures in place to ensure campus safety.

"We have 24/7 police patrols and a well-trained force,” Richards said.

The University’s Department of Public safety has technology in place with cameras across the campus providing ongoing video surveillance to help dispatchers monitor and record activities. Emergency text messaging is available for our students, faculty and staff, and the University has an outdoor warning system. In addition, an urgent alert system is in place to quickly send emergency communications to networked computers on campus. The Southeast campus also has lighted corridors and a campus shuttle system running at night.

Southeast Department of Public Safety officers also provide A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) training to faculty, staff and students, area schools, employers and the public to help prepare them on how to handle intruder situations, Richards said.

"Campus safety has been a major emphasis at Southeast,” he said.

Richards says that while Southeast has been ranked as the safest public four-year institution in Missouri by StateUniversity.com for three consecutive years, the ranking by BestColleges.com now recognizes for safety at the national level.

BestColleges.com says, “Southeast Missouri State University is dedicated to public safety. The University police department provides a variety of services to students and staff. Personal protection equipment including emergency call boxes, and closed circuit television are used throughout campus. Seminars given by campus police officers are offered to individuals and campus groups. Topics include sexual assault, armed robbery, vandalism and drug usage. An outdoor siren system is also maintained and used by the public safety office in the event of severe weather or building evacuations. A registered sex offender list is also kept by the department to keep up with local offenders.”

Missouri University of Science and Technology is the only other Missouri institution on the BestColleges.com list. Other universities on the list include Kansas State University, Arkansas State University, University of Mississippi, University of Northern Iowa and Loyola University.

BestColleges.com uses student surveys, faculty surveys, independent research, ranking systems and the input of highly credible and authoritative sources to create a database of listings of the best colleges and universities in many different categories such as “most beautiful,” “best college dining halls,” “best college services for 2013-2014,” “best colleges for non-traditional students,” “best professors,” “best intramural sports” and “best college libraries.”

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