In light of recent on-campus events, I feel like there is a need to return to the issue of campus security. I specifically want to focus on the lack of security cameras in the parking garage by Laurel Hall.
With how many students go in and out of the parking garage daily, it seems obvious that there would be security cameras to ensure their safety. However, this turned out to be wrong.
Sophomore psychology student Carolyn Granholm reported to Public Safety that someone had hit her car on the roof of the parking garage without leaving a note. What they did leave, according to Granholm, was enough damage that her driver’s side rear-view mirror was unable to adjust by using the buttons in the vehicle. She said she also cannot open and close her driver’s side door without emitting a loud screech due to a piece of metal that now sticks out by the hinge.
Granholm said Public Safety informed her that there was nothing they could do because there were no cameras in the parking garage, and thus no way to find out who did it. The person who hit her car gets away with it, and she has to deal with the consequences.
It’s a highly irritating situation to go through and a concerning issue to hear about given that the parking garage is quite far from other buildings and is dimly lit. Anything could happen in there. Once Granholm told me her story, it made me think about other incidents that could take place in the parking garage. Someone could be attacked and there would be no way for anyone to catch who did it or even make it to the victim in time to help them.
When I was walking through the parking garage, I noticed that one of the only cameras I could find was in the elevator. While this can help with incidents that happen in the elevator, it is not enough to protect those who are walking out to their cars on any of the parking garage’s levels. There were also two more cameras, one at each vehicular entrance.
I also noticed a lack of blue light emergency call boxes within the parking garage. Blue light boxes are meant to help students contact campus security in the event of an emergency. When I had thought I found a blue light box, I instead found an older telephone pole with a phone and a blue light next to it. The point of the blue light boxes is to alert the campus authorities of danger immediately, so the use of an emergency telephone can be detrimental if someone has to call for help while simultaneously protecting themselves.
Sometimes I see Public Safety patrolling the parking garage, but I realize that they may just be patrolling for parking permit violations, not safety reasons. Granholm said she had rarely seen Public Safety vehicles monitoring the parking garage, and a few days after the incident when she saw one drive past her, she felt like it was a cruel joke.
We need more security in the parking garage to prevent accidents and attacks. The way I see people driving in the parking garage terrifies me because I feel like I will inevitably get into an accident at some point this year. People are whipping around the corners going level to level and speeding down the middle of the lane, making it hard for me to have room to drive correctly. Someone could hit my car, or worse, a pedestrian trying to get to their car.
The least the school can do to improve safety is to install security cameras on each of the levels. It would make a safer environment as well as foster a sense of trust in Public Safety. A lot of us do not have any other choice but to live on campus, and we should not have to worry about feeling safe at the place we have to call home.
Photo by Jessica Hammer.