Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Johnson, Ane Turner

Committee Member 1

Kerrigan, Monica Reid

Committee Member 2

Coaxum, James


Campus safety, community college student development, precautionary and avoidance behaviors, student involvement


Community college students--mental health; Fear of crime


Higher Education


Campus safety is an important aspect of a student's collegiate experience. Although statistics indicate campus crime has been decreasing, these statistics do not provide an understanding of a student's perception of crime and how they are responding to that perception. This points to campus safety being a complex construct that transcends often cited numerical statistics and warrants a closer examination of students' feelings, behaviors, and experiences that build these perceptions. This mixed methods sequential explanatory single case study sought to understand the perceptions that students have about the overall safety of their campuses and whether fear of crime and the practice of precautionary and avoidance behaviors were directly related to the degree in which they experienced their social and academic activities during their collegiate experience. This case study examined fear of crime at one particular community college with multiple campuses in New Jersey. Findings suggested that student precautionary and avoidance behaviors were not a hindrance, but in fact routinized. These behaviors bonded students, becoming a catalyst for positive interaction among them in distressing environments and, ultimately, offering students a distraction from fear. Their practice suggests a redefining of safety and an increased tolerance of anxiety and fear among students.