Big Brother keeps an eye on campus - Purdue Exponent: Campus

Big Brother keeps an eye on campus

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Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 10:00 am

Big Brother is real on the Purdue campus, and he’s watching you 24/7.

Security cameras have caught many suspects in local banks, malls and gas stations. But are they really necessary on a university campus?

With the recent incidents of sexual assaults and theft, students on campus will wonder what the Purdue Police Department does to stop these crimes from happening. One strategy includes security cameras set up around campus to check for suspicious activity.

Purdue police Capt. Eric Chin said the police department is working on improving the security camera system on campus to get the best views possible.

“We have over 150 security cameras on campus,” Chin said. “Some of those cameras have multi-camera lenses on them. We may have one camera that actually has three camera lenses on it.”

Sarah Thompson, a senior in the College of Agriculture, said she knows why Purdue will want to have more security cameras, but she wonders why Purdue hasn’t informed its students about their existence.

“I’ve never been comfortable with security cameras,” Thompson said. “I know why they’re there and I know what they’re for, but the fact that you don’t see the person behind the camera kind of freaks me out.”

A map showing the locations of the cameras might sound useful, but it may actually be risky.

Carol Shelby, senior director of environmental health and public safety at Purdue, said for safety reasons, such as possible culprits knowing where all the cameras are located, there isn’t a plan of releasing a map to the public. But if students are wanting to know their location, the cameras are in plain view outside the academic buildings on campus.

“We really don’t keep a map or a list of them. It’s information available if you walk around, but (a full map) is not something that we would like to share with folks,” Shelby said.

Thompson wonders why the police aren’t releasing the map of the current cameras installed. She thinks it would reassure not only the students, but also the visitors who come to Purdue.

“Privacy is a tricky thing. I don’t feel comfortable being watched when I’m just walking to class, but on nights when I go to the bars or have night exams, it would be helpful,” Thompson said. “I think the police should turn on the cameras at certain times when thefts and attacks are more likely to occur, but again, you never know when it’s going to happen.”

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