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CU Denver reports drop in theft following visible ID policy

The University of Colorado Denver began a pilot initiative this past fall that required all campus community members to display their campus IDs when entering select CU Denver buildings. The pilot program was both a response to a reported increase in theft and unauthorized individuals entering campus buildings, and a request from students for an additional layer of security.

According to an official university release, the pilot program was a success, reporting no thefts or vandalism for the entire fall 2021 semester. The CU Denver Building Emergency Preparedness and Safety Committee — comprised of a group of faculty and staff members — oversaw the pilot and the results of the visible campus ID initiative.

“In our collective memory of more than a decade, this is the first semester we can report such positive statistics,” says Liz Marsh, head of the Building Emergency Preparedness and Safety Committee and an academic advisor in the College of Architecture and Planning.

When the CU Denver Building Emergency Preparedness and Safety Committee was formed in 2018, one of its first directives was to restrict building access to only members of the CU Denver community and guests.

According to the CU Denver website, the initial Visible Badge Initiative required that all students, faculty and staff display their campus ID badges when entering the CU Denver Building.

The visible ID policy was designed to help security guards and other community members better identify those who are authorized to be on campus. The initiative has since been expanded to the Business School this semester, with further plans to make visible badging a requirement for all CU Denver buildings.

As with any university in a major metropolitan area, the CU Building, CU Business School and other campus buildings located in downtown Denver face a specific set of safety and security challenges.

The CU Denver Building alone plays home to the College of Architecture and Planning, the College of Arts and Media, the InWorks engineering learning community, CityCenter innovation hub and a host of other academic departments that all require in-person activity in specialized labs.

There is no mandate regarding how students, faculty and staff should display their badge for entry, just that the credential has to be visible. Wearing the ID card around the neck using a lanyard and ID holder, or clipped to clothing with a retractable badge holder are both popular options.

Free lanyards are offered at various locations throughout the CU Denver Building and Business school. Card sleeves and retractable badge holders are sold at the campus bookstore.

To increase community participation and garner feedback for the visible campus ID pilot, university officials sent a survey to students, faculty, and staff who work and teach in the CU Denver Building.

Of the 225 respondents, 47% indicated that their sense of security increased, 41% indicated it makes it easier to identify members of the campus community, and 79% indicated that they felt like they were treated with respect and sensitivity.

CU Denver already has plans to expand the campus ID initiative to the Lawrence Street Center in the coming months, with longer term goals of implementing the policy at all CU Denver campus buildings by the start of the fall 2022 semester.

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