Many years back there was a trend at the local Students’ Union for setting off the Fire Alarms. This very childish and irresponsible behaviour was only curbed when the Fire Brigade threatened to have the bar’s alcohol license revoked.
A friend of mine at another university has seen a similar trend. His suggested solution is quite brilliant but also very simple. He suggested to the campus police that Fire Alarms should incorporate a camera. Where this is not possible cameras should be positioned so they can view anyone operating an alarm. If someone is operating an alarm legitimately the camera footage will allow them to be identified and commended. If someone is operating the alarm as a hoax then the footage will also allow them to be identified, hopefully so it can be arranged that they spend some time with others who have no regard for others’ welfare.
The intelligent reader may be objecting that hoaxers may attempt to cover the cameras. This likelihood can be reduced by use of small concealed cameras positioned in a variety of locations. A camera does not actually need to be mounted in the alarm, just have a view of the alarm’s operator.
I am sure a lot of rot will be raised against this idea under the banner of “civil liberties” but it is just that, rot. University campuses are already under surveillance and this idea is just to ensure that alarm points are included in the field of view. It would be a big contribution to improving public safety and preventing some genuine criminal behavior.