Some people question whether or not the Blue Light systems scattered around campus are effective or not.
Some of the arguments for the use of Blue Lights come from studies done by universities. One study conducted by the University of South Carolina reports that campuses with more security systems in place, like Blue Lights, experience increases in enrollment and revenue. Rice University in Houston, Texas found that their campus crime rate dropped after implementing a Blue Light system. According to the University, on-campus burglaries and thefts decreased by about 67%. These studies demonstrate the Blue Light system’s effectiveness for perceived safety and its value as a deterrent.
There is very little information that show how often Blue Lights have actually helped victims, with the frequency of the systems being used even harder to find. One source, University Business, claims that the University of Georgia removed all of their Blue Light systems after they hadn’t been used for eight years.
Based on the evidence presented, it seems as though Blue Lights are an effective deterrent against crime and seem to provide comfort to those it claims to protect. However, evidence also indicates minimal usage by students and other members of the community.
With evidence supporting Blue Light systems not being utilized, are they really worth keeping? Govtech.com says, “The fact is, they’re rarely used — and when they are, it’s not for emergencies. For example, they’re used for non-emergency road service requests, like flat tires or a jump-start. More often, they’re intentionally activated as a prank, which diverts resources from real emergency calls.”
While Blue Light systems may act as a deterrent, they have the potential to create a false sense of security for parents and students. Evidence supports that they aren’t used and a smartphone can perform the same services as Blue Light systems, while also being mobile and discreet. There are other solutions that colleges and universities could implement to create the same feeling of safety without investing in Blue Light systems. By installing more lighting on campus and installing cameras, universities can actively deter crime while ensuring those who continue to commit crimes get caught on camera.