By Sarah Stubbs
The University of Findlay has invested $560,000 into an update in the security system: brand new cameras all around campus.
Kenneth Walerius, director of safety and security says that these new cameras are putting the University ahead of the curve.
“We’ve updated about 370 cameras from analog to IP—which means the quality of picture is increased—and added about 40 or so more,” said Walerius.
According to Steven Baum, assistant director of safety and security, when the upgrade is complete, UF will have nearly 500 security cameras on campus all on a network with about three to four months’ worth of storage.
Walerius says that the upgrade is about 95 percent complete.
Asked if there were any specific events or incidents that sparked the replacement and installation of IP cameras, the security staff says no and so does Dave Emsweller, vice president of student affairs.
“The cameras are just there to see what we don’t see all of the time. It’s just an extra set of eyes and ears that we don’t have to feed,” said Walerius.
Baum agreed and added that possibly the best outcome of the upgrade is the deterrence factor of security cameras. When people are aware that they could be caught in the act, they are less likely to commit it.
“This isn’t going to stop everything from happening. We obviously can’t monitor all the time and you can’t always catch everyone in the act, but what it does is gives us something to refer to when something does happen that needs looked into—like a vehicle being broken into,” said Baum.
Baum said that recently there was an incident in Oiler Mart where someone was using counterfeit money and security was able to pull up the footage and zoom in to identify the perpetrator.
The biggest change in the system was added coverage in the parking lots.
“The parking lot cameras are the most dramatic change. They go 180 degrees. They see everything,” said Ken Walerius.
According to Baum, with the quality of the new cameras, it’s possible to zoom in far enough to clearly identify license plate numbers.
Walerius added that cameras have even been installed in science labs so that if a professor suspects there has been cheating, the footage can be accessed.
Campus Security said that there will be no major change in security procedures due to this improvement of technology.
“The live feed from the cameras is monitored by security, but the recorded footage is only reviewed when research about an incident needs to be performed. This is fairly standard procedure at all universities that utilize cameras,” said Emsweller.
Campus Security also mentioned that the upgrade was well overdue. UF started implementing security cameras in 2005, and just as computers need updated as technology advances, so do cameras.
With the upgrade, security is now running under one system instead of two and is also developing a plan to continue to upgrade in the future.
Resident assistant and sophomore pre-vet major Shelby True is one of the many students who have noticed the cameras being updated. True shared that it’s nice to know that footage can be accessed when incidents take place.
“I’m not sure if the new security cameras make everyone feel safer but they definitely make me feel protected. It’s reassuring to know that if something goes wrong we can go back and see what happened,” said True.
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