Ohio University (OU) has decided to install more security cameras near residence halls on their Athens campus.
The director of Housing and Resident Life, Pete Trentacoste, says the project includes installing cameras at all entrances, exits, lobbies, and staff offices, reports the Post.
“Each camera is $1,500-$2,000 depending on capability when you factor installation cost in,” Trentacoste said.
OU spokeswoman Carly Leatherwood says the estimate for the cameras is just under $1 million, according to Athens News.
Trentacoste confirmed that about 400 security cameras will be installed. Approximately 20 percent of residence halls have cameras now, and the goal is for all of them to have cameras by the end of the school year.
“Cameras have always been planned as part of our capital work, but we recently decided to escalate the installation of cameras,” Trentacoste said.
While increasing the number of security cameras in residence halls, Trentacoste says the privacy of students is still being put into consideration.
“The field of view is tested to ensure it is not covering a location that should provide an expectation of privacy,” he said.
OU Police Lt. Tim Ryan says the OU police department will be monitoring all camera footage.
Installing more security cameras could assist OU and Athens police collect evidence in sexual assault cases or other crimes on campus. OU has had multiple sexual assault cases in the past.
Just in the first four weeks of the school year, OU has received close to a dozen reports of sexual assault, reports USA Today.
Leatherwood also says the campus is looking into other ways to increase safety on campus, like lighting the walkways and parking lots.
“In public places, having video cameras is helpful, especially with cases with intoxicated individuals…The cameras will allow us to help refresh their memories,” Athens Country Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said.
As for OU students, not all feel that the added cameras are the answer to the problems that occur on their campus.
“Not necessarily do residence halls need the cameras,” Kira Russel, a student at OU said. “The issue usually occurs when students are walking back late at night.”
Blackburn says his office is willing to help local agencies apply for grant funding to install more cameras. He believes the movement to increase surveillance needs to happen “tomorrow, not two years from now.”
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