Surveillance setup could be ‘complex’

Privacy, best practice considerations would factor into camera use on campus

Installing surveillance cameras externally in various campus locations is part of AMS executive team TPC’s platform, and Campus security director David Patterson said doing so would be a complicated process.

“Within our department it’s a pretty complex question and any decision to install a campus-wide system would involve input from campus stakeholders such as university administration, students and faculty.”

Patterson said any installation of surveillance cameras would have to have a review ensuring best practices. “It would have to be shown that systems like that were being used in a safe and ethical manner, in accordance with the university’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy guidelines.” He said he can’t speculate as to the cost of setting up cameras.

“Anything to do with closedcircuit TV systems has specific areas and certain applications,” he said. “So if there is an area that has experienced a high number of thefts, then this technology can assist in preventing and deterring crime.”

TPC presidential candidate Alvin Tedjo, who’s a don in Victorial Hall this year, said security is an issue there because of the large number of false fire alarms they’ve had since september. “res life has looked into it, and it is a viable option as long as it does not point to hallways or towards anyone’s room,” he told the Journal. “These would be external cameras pointed outside, so we can find out if somebody pulled a fire alarm or you know exactly when your laptop was stolen.
“That’s what it’s for.”

Tedjo said he’s spoken about the initiative with residence life co-ordinators and to dean of student affairs Jason Laker. “[The residence Life Co-ordinators] thought it was a good measure for some of
the buildings,” he said. “[Laker] said there are probably better alternatives. He’s considering it, but he’d rather explore other means.”

Tedjo said he would only pursue this initiative if students support it. “If students are overwhelmingly against it, then obviously we wouldn’t do it.” Residence Life director Daryl Nauman said the idea of cameras in residences hasn’t been discussed in any depth recently.

“I think it would be important to have a discussion and it would involve students as well as staff here,” he said. “There’s probably a lot of questions around cameras, how effective they are in identifying individuals.
“It’d be important to look whether they’re effective as a deterrent, and there are privacy issues as well.”

TPC vice-president (university affairs) candidate Liz Craig said thefts such as that of about $60,000 worth of computers from Jeffery Hall, as well as multiple thefts from engineering society offices, indicate the need for surveillance cameras elsewhere on campus.

“A lot of expensive equipmentis stolen,” she said. “If someone’s coming out and they’re robbing
Jeffrey, if there was a big operation that must’ve taken a lot of time, having a camera at the major
entrances to catch the [thieves] … maybe we’d have fewer repeated thefts.
“I would be very interested in protecting expensive equipment. That’s a lot of money that’s just walking away.”

-—With files from Florence Li

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