The Pullman City Council authorized the installment of security cameras in high crime areas of Pullman a few months ago, specifically outside of Adams Mall on College Hill, a popular off-campus spot for students.
While I believe this new addition in surveillance will be beneficial to the student population, there have been many outcries concerning the cost, usefulness and loss of privacy accompanied by the security cameras installation.
Though it seems a vast majority of students do not approve of the added surveillance, their themes of protest named above are either uninformed or bogus, and the benefits of the security cameras significantly outweigh the costs.
Whenever anything on or remotely close to the WSU campus is added or renovated that students do not support, their comments of disapproval are generally something to the extent of, “I can’t believe part of my tuition is going to pay for that.” This statement is untrue for most renovations around campus, including the security cameras.
The installation of the security cameras is supported by a two-year, $300,000 federal
grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice to the Pullman Police Department. Additionally, those studying criminal justice and criminology at WSU will benefit from utilizing the security cameras as a means of research and study.
“A large portion of the funds will go to the university,” Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said in a previous news article from The Daily Evergreen, “which will do pre-grant and post-grant research as well as monitor the progress of it.”
As for the security cameras serviceability, a high concentra
tion of assault occur around Adams Mall. While the cameras may not stop brawls from happening, they can aid in identifying the culprits.
The police are not just interested in nabbing a few drunken students that throw a punch or two. There are serious fights and sexual assaults that begin near Adams Mall and often times the perpetrator is never caught. The cameras can help to identify people involved in violent or unlawful activities, increase police response time and possibly prevent these types of crimes from occurring.
The last and greatest concern from students is the issue of privacy, which may be their most
unreasonable argument yet. It is
hard to believe that college
students, who use social networking sites as a platform to post pictures of their drunken Saturday nights paired with incoherent status updates, would care if one more camera was pointed at them. Also, the security cameras will be placed in public areas, which makes me wonder what exactly students are doing in open places that they are so worried about being caught on tape.
If the police were truly interested in discovering students’ drunken misadventures and mistakes, they would type their name into Facebook and read along with their 600 plus friends about what reckless activities they did last night. Anyone who participates in social networking is already putting their privacy at risk, and a few security cameras being installed for the sole purpose of protecting and serving the student population and other Pullman residents is not reason enough to complain about a sudden loss in privacy.
The installation of new security cameras will ultimately benefit the student population. The intent of the Pullman Police Department is to aid and protect the community, not to spy on the student population. Student privacy is taking little to no hit, and Pullman is hardly bordering on an Orwellian society.