Lack of security cameras creates blind spot outside

Funding is one of the key hurdles in getting security cameras outdoors.

Funding is one of the key hurdles in getting security cameras outdoors.

While Marywood University currently has 74 security cameras on campus, none of them are located outside near walkways or parking lots. To some, including freshman Architecture student Abygail Weiss, it may seem like a glaring oversight.

“I feel like, honestly, we don’t need too many cameras inside; we need more outside,” Weiss said. “A lot of people-including Architecture students-we get out at four AM, and then we have to walk across campus to get to our car or dorm. And some random person could be walking around campus, and there may or may not be a [emergency] button next to you. They could run off and there would be no proof or anything.”

However, according to Michael Pasqualicchio, chief of campus security, there is a reason for the lack of cameras outside on campus.

“Ideally, I would love more cameras on campus, especially in those areas, but right now, there are no plans. That ultimately comes from higher up in the funding,” said Pasqualicchio. “When you run a camera, you have to run power and wireless cables [so one can see the feed] to it. That’s a far run; you’re almost running it underground, and that can be costly. Right now, we add as we need them, but I’m always open to more levels of security.”

Wendy Yankelitis, vice president of operations and maintenance, echoed Pasqualicchio’s words.

“It’s a process,” said Yankelitis. “From an infrastructure standpoint, you have to have power and internet available out there [for the cameras to work]; for the past three years, we’ve been working on, and upgrading, our wireless access points. I think it’s a wonderful idea, we just need the infrastructure in place to do that.”

Yankelitis mentioned ideas were floating around, but the main thing stopping them was money.

“We’re putting in a million dollars between now and the next five years to improve infrastructure-not just security but also wireless connections,” said Yankelitis. “But the cameras are, on average, about $800 to $2,000 per camera.”

However, according to Pasqualicchio, things are not overwhelmingly bad, as there are security measures already in place despite the lack of cameras. There are ways to report things that do happen outside of a camera’s field of view, such as talking to a nearby patrolling officer or hitting one of those blue light emergency buttons scattered throughout campus.

“We do have an anonymous tip system for non emergencies on our website, which is the Silent Witness form,” said Pasqualicchio. “And Campus Security is [open] 24 hours a day, so you can call us anytime to report anything. But our incidents are pretty low. If you look around, you’ll notice we’re in a pretty safe nook of town.”

Any serious incidents are reported, documented and updated on the Campus Crime Log.

One recent trend in the crime log is theft, or the attempted theft, of catalytic converters in resident parking lots. This is due to them being worth a huge amount on the black market, and two have been stolen so far. Pasqualicchio has taken them seriously and urges people to stay vigilant.

“Overall, if you look in the news, this kind of thing is happening all over the Northeast corridor,” Pasqualicchio said. “But we take every incident very seriously; it was lucky there were only two cars. As soon as they were reported, we increased patrols in the parking lots and kept some people down there to keep an eye on everything. There’s about 700 eyes here on campus. If anyone sees or hears anything suspicious, we want them to call us and tell us.”

Despite all of this, however, Yankelitis has faith in Campus Safety, and maintains that they have always done the best that they can to keep us safe.

“You obviously want to pay close attention to thefts,” Yankelitis said. “To me, even without cameras, it’s a big deterrent to know that officers are around and patrolling the parking lots. We’re certainly trying to prioritize them, but with thieves sneaking underneath cars in the dark it’s a hard thing to catch. But even still, I think Campus Safety has done a good job.”

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