April 20, 2019
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You might not always see them; however, they most likely have seen you already. They have been here before, but they are coming back in larger amounts. Denison has been installing new security cameras on campus.

Denison is currently in the process of a multi-year plan of improving and updating the facilities around campus. Part of this multi-year plan has been the newly installed card readers on campus at the entrances of buildings. These new card readers are meant to be easier on the cards and decrease breakages of cards. However, another part of this multi-year plan is the new installation of cameras across campus. There have been cameras installed at the fronts of academic buildings as well as dorm halls.

These cameras will not be monitored regularly by security, but they have been installed for a few reasons. As a tool, the new cameras present the opportunity for security to review camera footage if a crime is committed. As a deterrent, the cameras are in place to discourage people from committing crimes around the campus. As an assurance, the cameras allow for the students of Denison University to feel safer knowing that their will be recorded evidence of possible crimes. The cameras allow for a reduction of the number of unmonitored areas.

“Past Denison surveys have shown that women, people of color and the LBGTQA+ community don’t feel entirely safe on campus,” said Owen Crum ‘20, a history and religion double major from Charlotte, North Carolina. “In this regard, we should be exploring opportunities to make campus feel safer for those students. While campus safety plays an integral role in this, we also have to look at how students treat students. We have to look at the community we’re building.”

Crum is the president of Denison Campus Governance Association (DCGA), which was focused on getting the cameras on campus last year.

There had been complaints in the past about the lack of security cameras around the school. Many students and their families had considered security cameras to be an essential and basic part of campus security. The installation of cameras at Denison University will hopefully create a greater feeling of safety among the Denison University students. However, these are not the first cameras on campus.

Already installed cameras at the school allowed authorities to identify suspects who had been responsible for the theft and vandalism of school and personal property last year and over the summer. The cameras have already proven themselves as a trusted tool on campus.

With the installation of cameras in dorm halls, there are mixed feelings from students. On one hand, the cameras will protect students who are victims of crimes. On the other hand, students feel an invasion of privacy and a sense of always being watched.

“One of most important moments before any act of sexual violence or sexual assault happens at the door to residence halls. If cameras could in any way prevent those crimes, it is worth it,” said Crum. “This combined with them being a deterrent to vandalism and incidents of bias seem to place cameras as an opportunity for improved safety. The fact that the cameras are not in hallways or by rooms is important to me.”

Other students at Denison University have also expressed relief toward the new installation of the cameras. They hope they will cause a new improvement in student behavior and a lowering in the number of crimes committed on campus, especially vandalism, which they thought to be a big issue.

The latest crime report from Campus Safety, updated from 2017, shows that within the dorm halls there was reported one count of arson, one count of forced burglary, one count of non-forced burglary, three counts of rape, 145 liquor law violations resulting in disciplinary action and 116 drug law violations resulting in disciplinary action. It is important to note that these are statistics from incidents occurring within dorm halls and only represent those crimes actually reported. Read the rest of the report at https://denison.edu/forms/annual-campus-safety-and-fire-safety-report

The new wave of security cameras on campus have many purposes. They help deter crimes from being committed with their increased presence alone. They also assist in the investigation of crimes that still happen and give security footage to review. They help increase a feeling of safety and security among the student body. They are here to improve and maintain a higher level of safety at Denison.

Nathaniel Beach

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