Recent outbreaks of violence at community colleges illustrate that two-year schools are not immune from such tragedies, though residential institutions often get more media attention. An excellent article in Inside Higher Ed. by Scott Jaschik points out that community colleges may actually be more susceptible to violence than universities. The piece also contains a concise list of these sobering events. It's striking when placed all together.
As the article points out, two-year institutions are more likely to use leased space, such as within shopping centers, making security arrangements especially problematic. These schools are also more likely to have numerous, smaller, branch campuses, posing particular challenges. And community colleges often do not possess adequate resources to provide security at all their sites.
Most disturbing, however, based on a study cited in the article, is the apparent fact that two-year schools are less likely to have a response agenda, with designated team members chosen to fashion a plan for all known contingencies. There is no one-size-fits-all template here. Geographic and physical differences necessitate a site-specific approach.
Ironically, the very nature of community colleges—flexibility and the ability to blend into local circumstances—makes them more vulnerable. If your school doesn't have a "What if…" plan in place, it is time to consider it.