How Minnesota's smaller universities beef up student security

There have been four groping incidents reported near the University of St. Thomas, St. Catherine and Macalester in the last week. While large universities are often in the spotlight talking about their comprehensive security procedures, how do smaller campuses handle student security?

As a small university in the middle of a major metropolitan area, safety is always a concern at the University of St. Thomas. Over the past couple of years, the school has improved the lighting along Summit Avenue, but there are still some black holes along Cleveland Avenue, which the school says its working with the city to brighten up.

St. Thomas has also changed the blue lights on the emergency call boxes to make them brighter and added more of them around campus. As for the areas surrounding the school UST offers escorts for students who live within a six-block radius and pays for off-duty police to patrol the neighborhoods around campus on weekends.

Meanwhile, St. Catherine University has beefed up its security, too. Crime alerts are posted on the entrances to all buildings as well as emailed and texted to students and staff. St Kate's has also expanded its escort boundaries to include off campus neighborhoods and is one of the first in the state to use the Live Safe app, which allows students to ask a friend or family member to track their position in real-time using GPS when they are walking alone.

“They feel confident to walk across campus but they want that extra piece of security to go where they are going so it provides that as well,” said St. Kate’s University director of public safety Mark Johnson.

St. Kate's has also added surveillance cameras, four full-time staff members to public safety and student safety monitors to give them more eyes and ears around campus.