The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith was recently named the safest university in Arkansas, earning praise from online safety resource YourLocalSecurity.com.
Publishing annual reviews on the safest college campuses in America since 2016, Your Local Security uses data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Campus Safety and Security and the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report to inform their findings.
“We are proud of the work of everybody on campus in support of the University Police Department and our outreach efforts,” explained UAFS University Police Chief Ray Ottman. “Through our community-based policing and partnerships with our campus community partners, the Fort Smith Police Department and the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Department, we can build on the priority of safety on campus.”
UAFS reports drastically lower crime rates than the national averages, and UPD goes above and beyond the call of duty, implementing proactive safety measures across campus.
UAFS has blue light safety stations equipped with emergency phones placed throughout campus and utilizes the Rave Guardian personal safety app, which provides an additional layer of security for employees, students, faculty and staff through opt-in GPS tracking, emergency assistance, two-way communication and other resources.
UPD also performs police escorts by request at any time and hosts outreach events such as Cocoa with the PoPo, Weekend Waffles with UPD, and Stress Less events during finals. The department also provides Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) training, and officers give presentations throughout the year on dating violence, safe and healthy relationships, home safety and more.
“I really feel the benefits of our outreach efforts pay us the most dividends,” Ottman said with pride.
Throughout campus Ottman and his team also perform routine assessments of ways to improve campus safety, recently having implemented a lighting upgrade for the interior of campus. Lighting improvements are ongoing campus-wide.
“Safety is a priority of the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, not just for current students, but also for our incoming students, parents, staff and faculty,” Ottman continued. “Safety is a team effort, and I am happy and proud to be part of this team.”
According to YourLocalSecurity, colleges were evaluated based on violent crimes, property crimes and hate crimes per 10,000 people, as well as the number of Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offenses per 10,000 people. The full article with each state’s top campus is available at https://www.yourlocalsecurity.com/blog/the-safest-colleges-campuses-in-america/#state