Campus Security

So, my daughter has been considering which college to fly off to in the Fall and in so doing, she’s been researching them, visiting, all of the things you do before making such a life-changing decision.  As it stands, she does in fact have some decisions to make, because on one hand, she’s only a couple of courses shy of having her AA degree – prior to graduating high school – at the local college, and she’s been accepted at all of the universities to which she has applied, with varying degrees of financial aid and scholarships awarded. However, this entry is not about decision-making, or being a proud parent – which I am, or the thought of empty-nest syndrome, or even the stress of coming up with tuition. I’m not exactly a parenting blog, not one that extols the virtues of “good” parenting anyway – and this isn’t that type of blog entry. No. This blog entry is about campus security. Even that isn’t right. It’s more a contemplation on the unexpected.

As I was saying, we’re researching colleges. A recent visit was going well, the campus was lovely, the people extremely friendly and helpful. However, there was one odd thing that really stuck with me. The windows. At least, not the windows per se; the windows were regular windows, just glass panes with a frame, but they had these weird locks on them. Not like regular window locks, although they had those too, no, these security devices were placed over the locks and handles to completely stop someone from opening the windows. From. The. Inside.

it’s screwed into the frame and attached to the window pane – a permanent fixture

Now at first, I thought this was just a security thing, keeping the kids safe by making sure access was limited. You have to give them credit for that right? You want a college that’s all about security. But the more I thought about this unusual hardware, the less sense it made. I’ll reiterate the cause for my confusion. The devices were on the inside of the window. The INSIDE. If it’s not to protect the students from the world, is it meant to protect the world from the students? Well, no that doesn’t make sense either, because there were still doors to the outside. I mean, I’m assuming the students have free run of the campus and aren’t kept locked inside like in some horror movie classic.

And here’s another strange thing, it’s not just dorms or classrooms that have these locks, it’s every window. Every. Single. Window. Admissions office, counselors’ offices, student centers, every window is completely closed off to the outside from the inside. It’s regardless of floor, also – because I thought perhaps they wanted to keep people from opening the window in a drunken frenzy and falling out, we all know what college kids are. Nope, they’re all over the ground level floors as well.

Of course, this got me thinking even more. There must be a reason behind this peculiar security measure. Right? I can’t be the only one thinking that. There just has to be a truly interesting backstory to explain away this scenario.

But honestly, what weird circumstance could have happened on this mundane campus to make the Administration decide “You know what, we just have to lock every window on this campus,” to which the Security Office no doubt readily replied “Well, yeah, duh. Every college does that. It’s common sense.” To which Administration responded vehemently “No, no, we must completely block off ALL access – no open windows anywhere on campus, I tell you! We can’t have a repeat of what happened an indeterminate number of years ago!”

Except…what the hell happened? What prompted such decisive action? Were a lot of kids climbing out of the windows and causing damage? If so why? Boredom? Alcohol? I can think of a lot of other ways to have fun – that require much less effort – than climbing out a window when there is a perfectly good door right there that swings open. Of course, that’s just me. Is it zombie prevention? In which case, it’s an utter fail, because you’re sort of trapping them inside and who the hell wants zombies trapped on the inside?

Or maybe they had students sneaking people in and if so, isn’t the Admissions Office kind of too out in the open for that sort of covert activity? And if that’s what was happening, I really want to hear that story, cause those students obviously just don’t give a shit. Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s not meant for the students at all. Maybe there was a mutiny and the professors at the end of their tether tried to leave en masse, and if that’s the case, well, the school sure showed them, didn’t they?

It could be for something as easily explained as sheer practicality.  “Shut that door (or in this case, window), were you raised in a barn?” comes to mind. As does “What are you trying to do, air-condition the whole neighborhood!”  Maybe the school’s administration is simply contending with a rash of students whose parents never taught them the fine art of climate control.

Whatever the reason, it remains a mystery. I never asked and there doesn’t appear to be anything in the campus literature – I looked. If anyone has any ideas, I’m all ears.

Under Lock and Key

I just learned there is an app called KeyMe that can make copies of keys using a photograph. The blogger who wrote this article took a photograph of his neighbor’s key in their apartment complex stairwell, had a copy made via the handy dandy KeyMe app, and then later broke into said neighbor’s apartment in a “hey, let’s prove how easy this is” maneuver with the self-made key. Luckily the neighbor was a friend or at least must be, given the blogger wasn’t arrested or shot. And I’m assuming they still are friends after this little exercise in security…or lack thereof.

I must give my heartfelt thanks to Andy Greenberg for bringing this out in the open. I only wish this issue was getting more notice than it is. Although maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the one who has had blinders on. I won’t go into all the details of what the hell would possess a company to create an app like this…Mr. Greenberg does that quite well in his own writing.

What I will bring up, because it’s not mentioned anywhere in the article, is the very important fact that not only is this scary to everyone with regards to being robbed, but for women, it’s frightening on a whole other level in that we now have to worry about keeping our keys under lock and key so as to prevent some creeper who may be suffering a hurt ego, after having his advances rejected, from coming back to our house at a later date and exacting his revenge.

Although credit cards, names, and the like are clearly exchanged in order to get the key made, as mentioned in the article, who would even begin to think that an app like this even exists to KNOW to check with them to find out if that’s how the perpetrator gained access??  I mean, really!? Were any of you aware of such a horribly thought out app?  Or was I the only one in the dark here?