BY STEVEN SOUSA // Feb. 1, 2018 //
Theft, vandalism, and assault incidents have riddled the campus of Curry College and Public Safety has taken a step towards minimizing the frequency of those events.
That first stride was taken Aug. 28, 2017, when surveillance cameras were placed around campus, providing PS new perspectives to monitor crime.
16 brand-new cameras were strategically placed on the perimeter of the campus with one additionally looking at each gate. 886 Brush Hill Road, Scholars Hall, South Campus Residence Hall and Bell Hall all also feature a camera around the backside of each building.
In December, the school added four new cameras surveilling two of the more obscure and smaller dorms on the school’s north side campus. Two cameras were installed on the exterior of Rose Hall, along with another two monitoring 874 Brush Hill Road.
The school intends to monitor the locations where incidents have taken place in the past but recognize many occurrences have happened all over campus.
Director of Public Safety, Paul King, indicated the camera installation project is “multi-phased,” and that the perimeter vantage points are just the beginning.
“As we continue to build the camera infrastructure, we are planning for additional exterior locations and looking at the possibility of implementing cameras inside buildings,” said King.
That step was taken in wake of the recent biased related incidents inside 886 Brush Hill Road. Two hallways now have the cameras set up on a temporary basis to monitor any further actions of hate.
Placing cameras within buildings runs a fine line on the right of privacy that the school will have to balance on. The college has already implemented a policy on Security Cameras as one of their Health and Safety Disclosures.
The policy for Responsible Installation and Use of Video Security Cameras on Campus reads, “Cameras shall not be installed in areas where individuals have a reasonable and legitimate expectation of privacy, such as private offices, spaces dedicated to health and counseling services, residence hall rooms, locker rooms, bathrooms, and classrooms.”
So far there has been nothing to report and the cameras have provided students with some level of comfort and protection on campus. Junior Brooke Thurber, a mid-campus resident, definitely feels better with a few cameras in the area.
“I’m glad that the school has done something to finally try to prevent certain kinds of incidents from happening on campus,” said Thurber.
In addition to eventually inflating the number of cameras on campus, King also has the authority to install cameras on a temporary basis, which he used in 886. However, in order to do so, he first had to consult with either Vice President of Student Affairs, Maryellen Kiley, or the Vice President of Finance, Eric Norman.
One instance that King said he could use his temporary veto for is when a large crowd is expected at an event on campus. In addition, he can also boost surveillance in an area that was subject to multiple incidents.
There will be no live monitoring of the camera feed but King said that he and his Public Safety staff will be checking the footage “on a frequent basis.”
King joined the Public Safety squad as the Chief in May of 2017 and has experience installing video-monitoring equipment. He noted that these cameras are not a reaction to last year’s incidents and that this project has been discussed prior to the 2016-2017 school year.
The school’s end goal is to increase the overall safety of its students and faculty with this new security system.
“We believe that the use of security cameras on campus will serve as one mean of deterring and resolving a range of issues and incidents that may occur on a college campus,” said King.
He mentioned that a college campus is not the only place where incidents like this happen, however, “as they also occur in society as a whole,” King concluded.