Security cameras are set to be installed in North Hill dorms by February 2017, Residential Facilities Director Jon Dooley told The Diamondback earlier this week.
Dooley added many dorms already have these cameras. However, there are no plans for adding security cameras outside South Campus Commons apartments because they’re part of a partnership with a private company. Nor are there plans for cameras outside the Leonardtown apartments because they don’t have main lobbies.
This editorial board commends the Residence Hall Association for unanimously endorsing the implementation of these security cameras last December and thinking about campus safety. However, it should be looking further into installing security cameras outside all on-campus living quarters.
There is no reason why the university can’t come to an agreement with Capstone On-Campus Management, the university’s private partner that manages leasing and facilities for South Campus Commons, to install security cameras outside the buildings for the residents’ safety.
Placing these cameras on stairwells or another strategic location would capture people approaching the buildings and be equally as effective as putting cameras outside dorm entrances.
Over the past few years, there have been dozens of thefts reported by University of Maryland students living in campus dorms. In 2014, a 34-year-old man was arrested after stealing cash and a credit card from Centreville Hall and then breaking into Ellicott Hall, where he was found asleep in a pile of the resident’s clothing.
Every student knows how easy it is to tailgate into apartment buildings and dorms on this campus; it usually only takes a friendly smile or a phony explanation of a friend living inside to gain entrance.
The implementation of these cameras will not only reduce the likelihood of theft, but will also make the investigation after a burglary much easier for police.
Many will argue these cameras, while supplying a sense of security to their buildings’ residents, will also threaten students’ privacy in their dorms. Shouldn’t dorm residents be able to walk to their room without feeling like Big Brother is watching? Of course.
Cameras installed at only dorm and apartment entrances and exits would enable this university and University Police to see who is entering and leaving your living quarters, while keeping a safe distance from more intimate living quarters.
There would be virtually no loss of privacy as a result of security camera installations. The added sense of security, though, would be immeasurable.
This editorial board has read enough UMD Alerts detailing dorm or apartment robberies. It’s time for every on-campus dorm and apartment to be properly monitored, for students’ safety and peace of mind.