Members of the Salt Lake Community College Student Association (SLCCSA) Student Senate are considering the installation of outdoor security cameras as a means to curb property crime at SLCC parking lots.
While still in a formative stage, the idea is gaining traction. Senate President Carlos Artiles said that the Student Senate formed an exploratory committee after senate members reported a rising concern from students.
“This semester, we’ve been getting a lot of complaints from students who have been telling our student senators that there are a lot of break-ins and hit-and-runs in the parking lot,” said Artiles. “We started a committee within the Student Senate to see if we could figure out how to put security cameras in the parking lot.”
The committee, headed by senate member Faith Oladele, is tasked with investigating the rate of parking lot break-ins at SLCC lots and examining the costs and logistics of camera installation.
“The Security Camera Committee was set up to check how we can get security cameras on campus, to figure out what the costs are and how we can make the campus a safe place,” said Oladele.
The committee is also evaluating student opinion about security cameras
Oladele invites interested students to fill out the issues/concerns form at the Student Senate’s website (the link can be found in this story’s sidebar).
“We need to hear more student stories,” said Oladele. “That’s what the Security Camera Committee is about – to hear stories from students.”
In the wake of a recently announced 1.7 percent increase in SLCC student fees, the cost for security cameras may be a determining factor for many students.
While the scope and total price of a security camera program is still unknown, it’s likely that that costs would be paid out of student fees either directly or indirectly through a diversion of funds to SLCC parking services. This would either draw money out of preexisting programs, or result in another raise in fees.
“It would all come down to the Student Fee Committee,” said Artiles. “They will look at how to best do it. If that means raising student fees, then they might have to do that, but I honestly don’t think they would. They’d most likely reallocate money.”
Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Jeff Willmore is unsure whether the benefits would justify the costs
Willmore supervises troopers at Taylorsville Redwood, South City, Jordan and Meadowbrook Campuses, where they are contracted to provide police services.
“To adequately put security cameras in the parking lots would likely cost – and this is a guess, but maybe tens or even into the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Willmore. “We have to weigh that against the actual benefit that we would get from the cameras.”
Willmore said the use of security cameras isn’t a foolproof method for preventing crime or tracking down criminals. The cameras would not be continuously monitored, and the resolution of outdoor cameras, which have to cover a very large area, is often insufficient to capture details such as a person’s face or vehicle’s license plate.
Willmore said that there are a number of lower cost preventative measures that students can use to prevent vehicle burglaries, such as removing valuables from sight, locking car doors and rolling windows all the way up.
“If we could take some simple steps like that, I think we could potentially significantly reduce the crime rate,” said Willmore.