Marshall University installs CCTV cams in freshmen dorms

Marshall University police and residence hall security are using cameras in the First Year Residence Halls to help solve crimes and monitor residents' activities.

Since their installment, Lt. Dicky Parker said the cameras have been instrumental in solving two cases involving drugs and in recovering a backpack and laptop.

"The cameras are a good investigative tool," Parker said. "Looking back at the footage can help us develop suspects, as well as monitor suspicious people."

North Hall and South Hall each have 47 cameras throughout the common areas of the buildings, including hallways, lobbies, lounges and elevators, said Jeremy Thompson, general manager of the First Year Student Residence Halls.

Parker and Thompson said the cameras are used to monitor traffic in the buildings, vandalism, maintenance problems and suspicious activity.

The cameras also help with officer safety issues.

"When we receive a call on a loud party, we can review the camera footage to see how many people have entered a room," Parker said. "We can see if we're talking about three people in a room or 20 and determine the number of officers to send."

Thompson said the cameras are not an invasion of privacy.

"The staff informed all the residents of the cameras," Thompson said. "If the cameras were in the residents' rooms, there would be privacy issues, but they're only in the common areas. We have them for safety, not to compromise privacy."

Parker said the cameras have been beneficial in monitoring activity and tracking those involved in unlawful activity, but that the cameras don't solve all the problems.

"The cameras are there to assist in safety, but students should not assume the cameras make things safer," Parker said. "Students still need to lock their doors and secure their belongings."

(C) 2008 The Parthenon via UWIRE