Safety on Campus: How Effective Lighting Means Safer Students

A recent article in The Michigan Daily, the school newspaper of the University of Michigan, reported that students were very concerned about crime in areas where the lighting was poor both at the university and around Ann Arbor in general. According to the article, “Online crime statistics highlight a potential correlation between crime in the city and poorly lit areas.” The statistics show that an assault-type crime is more likely to happen in areas without adequate lighting.

The safety and security of students is a concern for colleges and universities of all sizes, and a primary concern is safety after dark. Classes, meetings, and activities are often held at night. Students spend evening hours on campus studying, sometimes not heading home until after midnight.

Most universities have implemented strategies to help students feel safe on campus, especially after dark. Some of these strategies include apps such as Guardian that will alert a friend if a student encounters trouble, as well as “blue light” kiosks from which a student can call 911. On some campuses, students who are heading home after dark can call a service to request a safety officer walk them home.

Despite measures being taken by college campuses to ensure the safety of their students, the lack of adequate lighting in walkways is still a problem. The reality is that students just do not feel safe walking around campus in the dark. A University of Michigan sophomore stated that “When going to study at night, students have to worry about how they are walking home and if they have friends to walk home with because of the poor lighting. I even have found myself walking home earlier than I wanted to from the library because of the poor lighting on campus. This has definitely impacted my studies.”

American School & University Magazine, a publication devoted to campus design, suggests “well-lighted pathways between destinations help students feel — and stay — safe. Lighting extends to many other areas as well. Consider the lighting inside hallways and stairwells and in parking lots.” As more and more crimes are reported on college campuses, it is increasingly critical that students feel safe.

The concerned Michigan students have started a petition to improve the lighting at the University of Michigan and in the streets of Ann Arbor surrounding the university. The petition called “Bright Students Need Bright Lights” seems to be working, as city officials voted this past March to nearly double their budget for street lighting and to work with university officials to light the areas where students need to walk at night.

To learn more about how effective lighting can have a positive impact on safety, contact us.