Plans to install campus surveillance cameras are underway

Shane Louis, Co-editor-in-chief

Preliminary plans are being made to install surveillance cameras on Contra Costa College District campuses.

“Rough order of magnitude may be around $1 million, but that can’t be known until we get farther along in design,” said Chief facilities planner Ray Pyle via email. This funding is part of the $450 million Contra Costa Community Colleges granted by local bond Measure E which was approved by voters in June 2014.

Although the plans are in a drafting phase, the district is preparing to install cameras on all campuses. According to the district, “The surveillance of public areas is intended to deter crime and assist in protecting the safety and property of our students, community members who visit our campuses, and our employees.”

“We are only looking at getting visual coverage of entrance points to the campuses, which are essentially limited to the entrances and exists of parking lots, Pyle said. “We are also going to cover the child care building exterior entrances.”

The location of cameras is designed to monitor those entering and exiting campus, and some students like this idea.

“I think it’s a good idea for the safety of students and for their children and grandchildren,” said student worker Olivia Blea.

Andrea Corrigan, 21, said she knows that the majority of rapes and sexual assaults in America happen to college-age students, and while there may be other things that could be improved on campus, she still sees value in the cameras.

“I understand how some students could feel like it’s an invasion of privacy, but I do also understand it’s a backup,” she said. “If you need evidence, it’s there when crimes are committed.”

But even Dorian Edhin, whose office was broken into last semester, isn’t sure that security cameras will help the problem. “I also think that wherever possible, people are better than machines,” he said. “People will respond to the noise, say, of a window shattering, but a camera won’t. So maybe that means we need more people–more police officers or security– out and about at all hours.”

DVC student Pedro Guevara, 26, said it doesn’t really bother him. “Cameras are everywhere,” he said. “So I don’t think it will make much of a difference.”

When DVC student Taylor Pettit, 20, heard the district would be putting $1 million into this project he wondered if there weren’t other ways the school should invest that funding. “I’m sure there could be a better use of that money,” Pettit said. “I mean, some buildings are pretty old, so we could use it to improve those.”

Keith Montes contributed to this story.