With the upgrades to security within the past decade, Central Michigan University is staying on pace with other universities in the Mid-American Conference with more than 500 active surveillance cameras throughout campus.
CMU is comparable in camera security to Eastern Michigan University, the University of Toledo and Kent State University–all of which have between 400 and 600 cameras on their campuses.
“We base placement on department requests, or we base needs on the monetary value of equipment in that area,” Kent State Police Sgt. Nancy Shefchuk said. “Typically, entrances and common areas always receive cameras.”
Bowling Green State University, however, surpasses CMU with 779 security cameras and has staff hired specifically for the live monitoring of the cameras from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. daily.
CMU does not employ a staff designated specifically for live surveillance of camera monitors, although cameras are always recording. They are accessed on a case-by-case basis, depending on the needs of the police department.
Miami University reported less than 60 live cameras on its campus, most of them indoors–far below the number at CMU.
All the universities reporting information share one common theme in their security operations: the major focus areas are key access points such as parking lots, lobbies, study areas, doorways, hallways, stairwells and places where money is exchanged.
In the last eight years, CMU has installed 546 surveillance cameras across campus. Among the newest installments are those in the Bovee University Center and seven 360-degree cameras installed earlier this semester in Moore Hall.
Since each camera costs approximately $500, the total value of the camera inventory is about $250,000, while the camera system, including the cost of the fiber to connect them, the video recorders and the rest of the support system sits at an estimated $500,000.
“When we started talking about doing more with cameras, we visited several campuses that were using cameras more than we were at that time,” Vice President of Information Technology Roger Rehm previously told Central Michigan Life. “The use of cameras has grown dramatically, because people who manage buildings understand that there is real value to having the cameras there.”