EDITORIAL: Cameras on campus necessary, but should have their presence known and be monitored

With more than 500 security cameras scattered across the campus of Central Michigan University, some people might feel as though they're on the popular reality television show "Big Brother."

But the placement of cameras on campus isn't about creeping on your every move. It's to try to ensure your safety on campus, and, with recent happenings in Mount Pleasant, CMU students shouldn't complain about having an extra set of eyes watching their backs.

It is in the best interest of everyone that there are cameras throughout campus. Those cameras could be what causes an attacker to think twice, especially if they are aware there are cameras watching.

But, is it enough? Just because the cameras are watching doesn't mean there are people watching those cameras.

CMU Police Chief Bill Yeagley told Central Michigan Life earlier this week the cameras aren't monitored around the clock, although footage can be accessed whenever it's needed.

While it's nice to know the cameras are on and might catch footage of any crime on campus, nobody will be helped if cameras aren't being monitored.

Especially with all the recent crimes in Mount Pleasant, it might be worth it to hire people to monitor the cameras, at least at night.

CMU could learn a thing or two from other universities, such as fellow-MAC school Bowling Green State University, that have their on-campus security cameras monitored. BGSU has 779 security cameras on campus and hires people to watch those cameras from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. daily.

If somebody was watching the cameras, that would provide a heightened sense of security, and although no crime is completely preventable, it might further deter the presence of crime on campus.

But these cameras aren't cheap. CMU's cameras alone cost the university $250,000, and, after operation costs and the cost of the system, security cameras weigh in at $500,000.

If we're going to spend that sort of money to have cameras on campus, we need to utilize all that the cameras can do, and that includes having somebody monitor them to help prevent crime on campus.

Posting signs stating security cameras are in use might do the trick, too. That way, even if somebody wasn't constantly monitoring the cameras, at least it would be made known that cameras exist on this campus and might catch a crime. As of now, a person could easily not even know there were cameras on campus.

That should change. Cameras can be an even larger deterrent to crime if their presence is made known publicly. Just the sight of a camera, or the sight of a sign pointing out a camera, can make a potential criminal stop before committing a crime on campus.


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