Many students who arrive at college campuses today are familiar with lockdown drills, which they learn in high school. But some critics say lockdowns are heavy-handed when used on sprawling, hard-to-secure college campuses, where student life is much less regulated, crime rates tend to be low, and mass shootings remain extremely rare.
“I don’t think there’s any greater level of danger, but our response to it is much different than it used to be,” Northeastern University criminology professor James Alan Fox said. “You’ve put colleges in a position where they have to err on the side of caution, and unfortunately they err a lot on the side of caution.”
College police chiefs note that federal law requires them to promptly notify campuses of possible threats, sometimes before investigators have time to learn whether the threats are credible.