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“Ask The Experts” is written and provided by Scholarship Media. It does not reflect the views of The Collegian or its advertisers.

There are more cameras now around campus. Are we being monitored?

Security cameras have now become a part of everyday life, not just on campus, but pretty much everywhere. They provide a cheap and easy method of deterring crime and protecting areas. Around 90% of colleges now employ some form of camera surveillance to monitor the grounds. With crime and campus shootings on the rise, faculties need a more efficient deterrent, and CCTV is doing the job.

Plans for security camera expansion are already in motion for the majority of schools with existing camera systems. There has been substantial positive feedback regarding cameras for safety and crime deterrence. Experts at Locksmith Surroundings confirm security cameras reduce residential and commercial burglaries. Around 80% of universities are using fixed camera systems, and over half of the representatives surveyed for a campus safety publication said they would be purchasing more cameras and video processing software in the near future.

There are a number of clear advantages to using video cameras. A primary benefit includes the use of video footage as evidence. In cases of theft, gun crime, drug dealing, assault, arson and gang violence, video surveillance footage has been used in court and has resulted in convictions. Lawyers at The Mayfirm have often used accessed local security cameras for documentation on auto accidents unexpectedly captured on video.

Security can be beefed up with an extra set of eyes on college grounds, parking lots, accommodation buildings and recreation areas. Opportunistic criminals would think twice about entering premises if they knew their actions were being recorded. Incidents of theft have decreased in colleges that have an efficient CCTV system in operation.

Aside from security, video cameras can also monitor places for medical emergencies, weather incidents, event organization, employee discipline, and risk management. Many colleges are also in partnership with local law enforcement where access to security networks and cameras is often shared.

When a site-wide security camera system is initially implemented, there is often concern over personal privacy or violation of academic freedom. There may be the sense of a Big Brother environment with students feeling that they are the subjects of all-seeing digital eyes. These feelings soon subside, though, when people get used to having the cameras there.

The installation of cameras for the benefit of the students and faculty, reduction in crime and a safer feeling around campus can only be a good thing. Cameras are pretty much everywhere these days, so people should be used to seeing them. The advantages of a video camera system far outweigh any disadvantages caused by initial discomfort about being monitored.

Occasionally a system is installed to monitor for a specific incident or crime, perhaps if one of the offices has been robbed a couple of times or attacks have occurred late at night in darkened areas of campus. A small compromise of privacy is usually accepted as part of a wider general trend of more video cameras in daily life.

“Nothing we do is ever going unnoticed. It’s on CCTV cameras, it’s on iPhones, it’s everywhere,” Anastasia Griffith.