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University police and IT departments plan new security camera request process

By Conny Chavez, April 13, 2021

Cal Poly Pomona’s University Police and IT departments are working on expanding the installation of cameras in campus parking lots and a plan to implement a formal process for members of the campus community to request the installation of security cameras on campus.

The requests will be reviewed by CPP’s IT department, then directed to UPD for evaluation of the necessity for the specified location of the security camera. UPD analyzes human safety, crime rates and any other high priorities before making a final decision on the installation of cameras.

These new changes follow years of concern from students about the low number of working security cameras, especially in parking lots.

On March 16, CPP students expressed their concerns on social media for their safety on campus after an anonymous user reported to the cppconfession Instagram page that a resident advisorallegedly informed students that half the cameras on campus do not work.

Paul Morillo, a fifth-year business student, recalled that during his first year at CPP, he returned to his vehicle parked in lot B only to find that the fender and bumper of his car were damaged.

“I saw that some things in my car were moved; I remember thinking, ‘This is kind of odd,’ so I walked around my car and I saw someone had hit my car,” said Morillo. “No one had left a note or anything so I called campus PD and the cop basically had me go with him to look around the parking lot to see if there were any cars that seemed that they might have been in some sort of accident. No one ever got back to me after that.”

Morillo spent thousands of dollars to repair the damages of his car, but he felt discomfort when the UPD officer let him know that there was no security footage to help solve the hit and run case.

Morillo believes CPP should install more cameras throughout campus, especially in parking lots, to ensure students’ property and personal safety.

In May 2018, The Poly Post released an article highlighting the most common crimes on campus, most of which occurred in parking lots. On Sept. 17, 2018, five car batteries were stolen from vehicles parked on campus, leaving students wishing once again for CPP to install more security cameras in parking lots.

Students have expressed concern over the lack of security cameras around campus, particularly in parking lots, since 2014. On Nov. 11, 2014 side mirrors were stolen from five different vehicles in parking lot F. This incident pushed students to demand surveillance cameras in campus parking lots.

UPD Chief Dario Robinson assured that it takes time, money and many difficult decisions to add a camera around CPP’s campus.

“Since I’ve been here, the past five years, we’ve probably added about 200 cameras or more,” said Robinson. “Like everything else, it has been a process, we’ve been adding cameras everywhere.”

Yet, as stated in CPP’s 2020 Annual Security Report, the most common crimes from 2017 to 2019 include over 50 incidents of motor vehicle theft and over 50 burglary incidents on campus.

According to Lt. Marcus Simpson, the UPD is currently responsible for 440 cameras throughout the campus. These cameras do not include security cameras under independent entities such as the University Village, the Bookstore or the University Library.

In accordance with the Systemwide Video Security Camera Policy, installation and use of security cameras on campus requires the approval of the chief of police. Robinson specified that a camera installation requires an inspection of the location, consideration of visibility and the final decision revolves on the severity of security risks.

Vice President and Chief of Information Officer John McGuthry emphasized that IT must also allocate the budget for cost of installation before setting up a new camera on campus.

“Depending on where the camera is located, whether or not there is networking, it has to be able to send the information to a server so that can be stored, how much has to be done to fit the environment. It can be somewhere between $1,000 to $1,500 to put a camera in,” said McGuthry.

It can take anywhere from a few weeks to months to fully set up a security camera on campus.

The estimated price of $1,000 to $1,500 does not include the price of storage for security footage nor upkeep. In addition to networking, security cameras must include memory storage and require a continuous maintenance.

For any inquiries regarding information of security, which includes video cameras, contact campus Chief Information Security Officer at ciso@cpp.edu.  The CISO coordinates with the appropriate departments based on the nature of the inquiry.  Victims of a crime can contact University Police at 909-869-3070 or at police@cpp.edu.

 

Feature image courtesy of PhotoMIX company via Pexels.

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