At ABAC cameras are in many of the buildings around campus for security purposes, however, the one place on campus that isn’t covered is the campus parking lots. This allows more crimes to occur like fights, thefts, vandalism and most commonly hit and runs.
Garret Pierzchajlo, Senator for Arts and Sciences in the Student Government Association (SGA), is the one who is proposing, that cameras are added, saying, “ABAC is a very safe campus compared to most universities but where our crime does occur is in the parking lot.” Crimes like hit and runs are the most common with roughly seven to ten being reported each semester.
This leaves students to deal with an expensive issue that could be resolved if there were cameras watching. Pierzchajlo also believes that just having the cameras up would serve as a deterrent to crimes in the parking lot. There have been a few incidents of people taking yeti coolers out of trucks and taking stuff from unlocked cars.
Also, fights like the one that occurred earlier in Nov. ending with one student being expelled and the other suspended for two semesters may have been easier to resolve.
The student who was suspended believed if cameras had recorded the incident, it could have helped him prove his innocence or guilt.
Pierzchajlo hopes that cameras will eliminate situations like this if students are aware of them. It’s a problem of the cost of setting up the cameras versus the benefits they provide.
Pierzchajlo said that they hope they can get approval soon to obtain the cameras. Grant Thelen, the President of the SGA, said that installing the cameras would be most likely take place first in the south parking lot when it is redone by ABAC. Pierzchajlo stated that, “It will be expensive, but in terms of the university’s budget it’s a drop in the bucket. But the justification for this is that this could knock out all the crime at ABAC.”
He hopes that he can push this through during his term as Senator. Even though these cameras would be watching the parking lot, they would not be monitored by staff. They would only record footage that is then stored for a set period of time.
Although the cameras being implemented around the parking lots seems like a good idea, it is not as straightforward as everyone thinks it is. Most of the time cameras do not help when it comes to catching the person responsible.
While talking with the Chief of Police Frank Strickland, the cameras ABAC will receive are going to be for recording purposes only and “even if you have a picture of the person, somebody’s got to know the person to be able to identify the person.”
Strickland further explained that cameras work two different ways. The first is by using the cameras to record everything within a day and storing it on a server for 30-60 days so that it can be reviewed for any reason. The second is to have people hired to specifically watch the video, both of which are very expensive.
Given the high cost of cameras and servers for a relatively low crime rate at ABAC, cameras may not be the best way for the college to spend money.
Especially when you take into account that cameras are only good for seeing what took place after a crime has been committed.