by Sheldon Schenck – Staff Writer – firstname.lastname@example.org
An increase in on campus larceny and vandalism led to the recent addition of surveillance cameras at the entrance to most academic buildings and residence halls at UNC Asheville.
Though campus crime reports show UNCA to be a more peaceful campus among schools in the system, there were several incidents of larceny and vandalism during the summer, and during the spring semester and fall semester of last year.
In July, there were three reported vehicle break-ins in the Zagier parking deck and Lot C, behind Carol Belk Theatre on University Heights.
In April of last semester, eight incidents of larceny were reported either in the residence halls or in other buildings on campus. Most months average four or five reported incidents of larceny on campus, according to UNCA crime reports. The majority of cases occur in the residence halls, and occasionally take place in the educational buildings and Sherrill Center.
“I feel like people would be less likely to steal from other’s dorm rooms if they know they are on camera,” said Olivia Allen, a freshman at UNCA.
According to crime reports, the items most frequently stolen are high-end technologies such as laptops, phones, iPods and televisions.
“It would be devastating if someone came into my room and took anything,” said Hannah Coulston, a freshman at UNCA. “Even if it’s not an expensive item, they would still be taking my property and majorly invading my privacy.”
The security cameras are placed outside the entrances, while none exist inside the actual buildings or residence halls.
“I do feel like the cameras will help prevent break-ins. However, I do think it would be more effective to have cameras in the halls instead of just at the entrance of the building,” Coulston said.
Students feel the security cameras do have the capacity to ensure their safety around campus, but that they are not necessarily the only effective measure. Blue emergency towers are also located around campus, and students’ OneCards are checked in the lobby of each residence hall after 8p.m.
“I don’t necessarily feel the cameras play a role in the safety, but they don’t hurt,” said Maggie Booterbaugh, freshman. “I mostly feel that the lock down of doors to all students past 8 p.m. plays a larger role.”
Many students either already feel safe on campus, or feel as though the addition of cameras is of little significance.
“I don’t feel any safer with security cameras,” Allen said. “If someone was going to attack me, security cameras wouldn’t help immediately.”
Students do feel as though the cameras provide them with an extra level of safety.
“I have never felt that I was in any danger,” Coulston said. “I think cameras are always a great thing to have, especially on a college campus. I feel like the security cameras make me feel safer.”
Though students view the campus as relatively safe, they still acknowledge the ever-present risks.
“I always feel safe in groups, but at night if I am walking by myself, then it’s a different story,” Allen said.
Even though the cameras have been installed outside of most buildings on campus, students like Madeleine Garcia-Johnson, a sophomore art history student, were uninformed about the cameras’ existence.
“To be honest, I have not even noticed or heard about the new cameras on campus,” Garcia-Johnson said.
Campus police were not available to comment on the nature of the new security cameras.