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.


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