Campus Safety to add lights and cameras around campus

Light on campus
(Photo by: Preston Waters)
Light on campus (Photo by: Preston Waters)

Written by: Matthew Orquia

New lighting and cameras are being added to campus, according to Marty Hamilton, associate vice president for Financial Administration. The project, a collaboration between Campus Safety, Financial Administration and Information Technology, involves a four-phase proposal to add more CCTV cameras to campus. Phase one has been approved by administration.

Phase one of the proposal would add 25 exterior cameras covering the Hulsey Wellness Center, Taylor Circle West parking lots, the track, the tennis and pickleball courts and the sidewalk to the new SuCasa Church. These areas were included in the first phase because Campus Safety found that they had the highest number of incident reports, according to the proposal. 

The CCTV proposal is a four-year plan to add cameras across campus. After phase one, the next three phases would add cameras to many of the parking lots across campus and some of the entry and exit points of campus. Each phase is estimated to cost around $40,000.

While cameras on campus are helpful to Campus Safety, they typically do not stop incidents from happening, Hamilton said. 

Cameras on campus record to a server that can be accessed by Campus Safety. Campus Safety can also pull up the live feed of a camera on campus when necessary, according to Haas.

“Cameras have been used in the past to help resolve incidents. The new cameras will give Campus Safety a better view of areas that do not currently have coverage,” Haas said. 

Since November of 2021, two suspects have been arrested and charged after incidents on Southern’s campus, according to previous Accent articles. One suspect was involved in incidents that included sexual assault and stalking. The other was charged with stalking. 

Lighting campus is part of the efforts to make campus safer, Hamilton said.

“The track is probably the first area that we are going to address,” Hamilton said. “We have had some complaints that the lighting could be improved.” 

Students who have concerns about lighting in an area on campus can talk to Campus Safety or a dean to raise the issue, Hamilton said.

Campus Safety night shift officers also look for areas with insufficient lighting and lights that have gone out, according to Shawn Haas, associate director for Campus Safety. 

“If an area is identified that should have a light that does not have a light, that is also turned in to plant service for evaluation for possibly adding a light,” Haas wrote in an email to the Accent.

Haas said that he felt appropriate lighting on campus helped prevent campus safety incidents.

When adding new lighting, the focus is on areas with the most student activity, especially where students are walking often, Hamilton said.

“From the Bietz Center along Colcord Drive to Summerour we put in a brand new sidewalk. There’s no lights,” Hamilton said. “ … One of the things we’re wanting to do is light Colcord from the Bietz Center [to the] Spanish Church all the way to Summerour.” 

When lights fixtures that use the orange-glowing sodium vapor bulbs go out, they will be replaced with LED bulbs, according to Hamilton.

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