There was a sense of déjà vu on Sunday when Volter Bagriy (MSB ’10) learned that the $150 sunglasses belonging to his roommate, exchange student Francisco Herrera, and his other roommate’s iPod had been stolen from their Nordhoff apartment.

It was the second time that the apartment had been burgled in seven weeks.

On the morning of Oct. 1, it was Herrera’s $1,800 laptop that was ripped from the kitchen counter.

One of Herrera’s roommates, Luke Lagera (COL ’10), said his apartment-mates had notified Facilities twice in late September that the lock on the apartment’s exterior door was broken. Herrera was reimbursed for his laptop by the university.

“Thank God I got some money back,” Herrera said.

Facilities fixed the door two days after his laptop was stolen, but Herrera said that the lock broke again earlier this month – two weeks before his sunglasses and his roommate’s iPod were stolen. Although a Facilities worker came to assess the door earlier this week, it has not yet been fixed.

Following the burglaries, Bagriy suggested installing closed-circuit cameras outside of the apartment entrances in hopes of deterring similar incidents in the future. He approached members of his Management and Organizational Behavior class, for which he must complete a group project on negotiation, and suggested that they try work with university officials to get security cameras installed outside the Nordhoff apartments.

Bagriy said his group had not yet brought its plans for negotiation to any administrators, as it is still organizing its tasks and goals, which will include petitioning residents of Nordhoff. The group plans to enter negotiations before the end of the semester.

But Bagriy and his classmates aren’t the first to think of installing security cameras around campus. In some areas of campus, the university has already beaten them to the punch.

This summer, the university installed security cameras in various campus areas, such as the base of the Lauinger Library steps. Several were already in place around campus.

But Rocco DelMonaco, vice president for university safety, said that DPS was not adequately consulted in deciding where the new cameras would go this summer.

“It was haphazard at best,” said DelMonaco, who assumed his job in July.

He said that now, the safety department is trying to further increase coverage of the university in areas where they deem more incidents occur.

“We’re looking at an overall approach to increased utilization of closed-circuit TV cameras on east campus,” said DPS Director Darryl Harrison.

The university is specifically looking into placing cameras around the perimeter of campus, including areas like Nordhoff, LXR and Nevils, Harrison said.

“We want criminals to be aware that we are watching,” DelMonaco said.

DelMonaco could not give an estimate as to when the cameras would be in place but said that the process was well on its way.

“We are trying out several different types of cameras . to figure out what works better with our system,” he said.

In the past year, the university also developed a communications center that incorporates new security camera technology, called “intelligent video,” DelMonaco said. With the new system, sensors at the communications center can determine suspicious movement in certain areas, as determined by the university. The camera would then show up on the screen for a DPS officer to assess.

In January, DPS officers began using video cameras to record large-scale safety incidents, such as fights on campus, for the purpose of assessing their response.

Harrison said that no incidents had been filmed this semester but that the practice had been utilized during the spring 2007 semester.

“If a situation arose where we felt the video could assist us in following up to an incident, we would utilize it,” he said.

Harrison said that he is sensitive to student complaints of invasion of privacy but also that he thinks general opinion will change as cameras – both mobile and closed-circuit, stationary ones – become more common on campus.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.