With the possibility of sexual assault and other crimes happening to students, UWG Housing and Residence Life has increased their surveillance on campus by adding more cameras around their residence halls.
The campus only had around 45 cameras before the additions. Now, over 100 cameras have been added and are covering more areas within the hallways of buildings such as the Oaks, Center Pointe, and Bowdon hall.
Although they are unsure whether most residents know about the cameras, HRL made it very clear that their intentions are not to infringe on personal space, but to ensure the best safety for its residents.
Some might see the hallways of a residence hall as personal space. UWG Director of Housing, Stephen Whitlock, guarantees that the practice is legal and not infringing on any student’s rights.
HRL does confirm that cameras in the hallways have been vetted by UPD and other legal authorities. It is considered a public space, and it aligns with practices like police officers walking the hallways and knocking on doors to check on student safety. Though officers can walk the halls, they cannot unlawfully enter the rooms. UWG understands that rooms are private and Whitlock guarantees that cameras will never invade that privacy.
Whitlock has expressed that crimes like petty theft can affect the perception of safety on campus. Cameras in the hallway make it easier for the department to investigate the actions that threaten the community’s common privacy and sense of safety.
“It’s not someone breaking into the residence halls, it’s your next-door neighbor who knows your pattern,” said Whitlock. “It is those things that leaves the perception of not being safe living on campus. With the cameras now, we are able to see that activity, identify those individuals and bring them to justice so to speak.”
It is unknown whether crimes like petty theft have decreased within the past year, however HRL is more confident that they can catch offenders and see that they are properly dealt with through the school’s legal system.
While there have been around 100 cameras installed, Whitlock admits that most of their efforts have been aimed at first-year residence halls. HRL wants to make sure that new college students feel safe.
“We have focused on our incoming student halls where the majority of first year students are,” said Whitlock. “It is that first year where you are the most impressionable and unaware of what’s around you. So, I put them in the areas where we have previously had the most instances.”
While HRL is focusing on those areas more, Whitlock says that he does plan on making sure that cameras are at entrance and exit doors of every residence hall on campus.