University of Missouri students living in North, Center and South residence halls can expect security cameras to be installed in common areas and exterior entrances as early as next semester. Residential Life Director Frankie Minor said security cameras could be installed in every residence hall by Fall 2018.
Minor said at a community government meeting on Sunday that security cameras might be installed in those three residence halls by early next semester, but that no timeline has been put into place.
"When we built these facilities we thought we might want to do this," Minor said.
He said the infrastructure for installing cameras had been included during the residence halls' construction. Minor said the conduit pipeline for the wiring involved with the cameras was put into place on the main floor and along the perimeter of the buildings, including the entryways.
Some students at the meeting offered suggestions of where cameras could be placed.
Sophomore Center residence hall resident Ryan Corey said he would want the cameras to cover the bike racks because a friend of his in Respect residence hall had his bike stolen, even though the bike was locked up with a steel U-lock.
Although Corey said he likes the idea of installing security cameras, he said he doesn't think cameras should be installed on floors where residents' rooms are.
The cameras would be motion sensitive and able to store up to about two weeks of images. Minor said the video would be stored on a type of digital video recorder that would be placed in the residence hall. Minor said each recorder could have between 16 and 20 cameras connected to it.
He said when the cameras would record at a lower frame rate when they did not sense any motion.
"The cameras are always recording," Minor said.
Some residents asked if the cameras would be effective at night. Minor said that would depend on the amount of outside light in the coverage area. He also said this issue would be examined when the cameras are installed.
Even though the cameras are continuously storing images, Minor told students that the video will only be looked at when necessary, such as in cases of vandalism and theft.
Residential Life began putting security cameras into residence halls earlier this spring, when cameras were installed in College Avenue residence hall.
"Things are going pretty smoothly," Minor said. "Students were very supportive. We haven't heard any objections to this point."
Minor also said most students are not bothered by the presence of the cameras.
"They don't even notice that they're there," Minor said.
The cameras in College Avenue residence hall have been useful in situations such as vandalism, Minor said. He also said the cameras were used to determine when a student passed out by College Avenue residence hall and how long the student was there.
"These things have a lot of different uses for them," Minor said.
Minor said the installation of the cameras would cost about $40,000, but he said money for the project would come from the funds used to build North, Center and South residence halls.
"What were actually going to be using is the money that was set aside in the construction budget," Minor said. "We have to spend it before February or it goes back into our big savings account. We thought this was an appropriate use of that."
In a later telephone interview, Minor said Residential Life has seen "overwhelming support" for the plan to install cameras in all the residence halls.
He said if students' attitudes don't change, cameras would be placed in every residence hall by 2018, at the end of the Residential Life Master Plan.
(C) 2007 The Maneater via U-WIRE