Editorial: Parking lots need cameras

Our View

Situation:

Only a few parking lots on campus have security cameras, but destruction and vandalism occurs in other lots, too.

Stance:

President Bill Perry’s parking lot initiative should be utilized to get cameras in all lots to prevent and solve crime on campus.

Part of President Bill Perry’s proposed parking changes include security cameras in all campus lots.

Now, this is a good idea.

In recent events, on Nov. 2, the University Police Department reported that multiple cars were damaged while parked within the E parking lot just south of Stevenson Hall on Fourth Street.

University Police Chief Adam Due said there were five vehicles that each had a tire slashed.

On Sunday, it was reported that an unknown vehicle struck a 2002 Chevrolet while parked in the W-Lot and another hit and run was reported Thursday that a vehicle struck a 2001 BMW while it was parked in the Health Services parking lot.

These, unfortunately, are just two of numerous incidents reported to UPD. There are more.

Hit and runs and vandalism are often in Eastern’s blotter and the use of security cameras might prevent further incidents or aid investigations.

Lt. John Hatfill of the University Police Department also sees the need for security cameras in all lots.

“It’s definitely something we would eventually like to have,” he said.

Hatfill said there is enough destruction that security cameras in every lot would be of use.

There are cameras in a couple of lots, but Hatfill said he would like to see them in all of the lots.

“We are a long way from where we want to be,” Hatfill said.

When deciding where to put the few cameras that are currently up, Hatfill said areas of high destruction were targeted.

Hatfill would not disclose what lots the cameras are in. He said the reason every parking lot does not have security cameras is because of cost issues. During the past four to five years, he added, the university has been looking into placing cameras in every lot.

“It’s just not feasible financially,” Hatfill said.

Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs, said each camera the university installs costs about $1,500.

Even if it is not as financially feasible as the university would like, security cameras would be a great addition to campus safety. It’s not just about hit and runs and vandalism.

Security cameras could also help prevent sexual assaults from happening in or around parking lots or even help when investigating alleged sexual assaults.

If any of the proposed parking changes get approved, security cameras should be one of them, and if cost is the issue, part of the proposed parking permit fee increase could go towards making our campus just a little bit safer.