There are 52 security cameras around campus to protect property, but zero of these are in the college’s residence halls.
Security Director Steve Leonard said that is because his department values security officers patrolling and being readily available, rather than sitting in a room and monitoring security cameras.
“Security cameras that we have are for review purposes,” he said. “If something happens, we can review and see if it can give us more info on what occurred.”
The following buildings are home to the 52 security cameras on campus.
- Napolitan Student Center: 22 cameras, two of which are on the outside.
- Barnes Hall: Four cameras, all inside.
- Old Main: 10 cameras, one of which is outside.
- Shirk Hall: Four cameras, all inside.
- Johnson Center for Fine Arts: Four cameras, all inside.
- Physical Plant: Six cameras, one of which is outside.
- Spurlock Center: Two cameras, both inside.
Freshman Laura Smith lives in Elsey Hall and said she didn’t know there were security cameras around campus.
“I feel like if there were security cameras at dorms, it would make the lives of the residence assistants easier,” Smith said. “But at the same time, I like not feeling that I’m under surveillance in my home.”
Leonard said it’s hard to predict if a security camera has prevented anything in the past, but said there have been multiple times when something was stolen, and the individual was caught on camera and held accountable for the theft.
There have also been a couple of occasions where footage had been handed to the Franklin Police Department.
“One gentleman stole a purse from Shirk,” Leonard said. “He was convicted on a federal charge because he’s done that to many colleges in different states.”
In another occasion, a high-quality camera was used to find a suspect committing a crime in an on-campus parking lot. The crime was caught on camera, but because of bad lighting, they were unable to identify the person.
“There are alternative ways to improve security,” Leonard said. “Each year, typically in November, I take a walk of campus with members of Student Congress and anyone who is willing to go, that have ideas where lighting can be improved on campus.”
The lighting audit has been going on for eight years and receives feedback from students on what areas should have better lighting.
Facilities take that feedback and find ways to add more light, either by putting up more lights, repositioning lights or by trimming trees that block the light.
“Each year, having different students’ perspective where they think should be better lit is highly valuable,” Leonard said. “Each student walks their own path, and I’m always grateful on their opinions.”
Sophomore Christian Bowling is the judicial chair of Student Congress. He went on the light audit this year.
Bowling said the group verified several areas where more lighting was needed—specifically in spots near Spurlock, Dietz and Elsey.
“The majority of the stuff we came up with are actually things the school can afford to do,” Bowling said.
If students have concerns regarding security cameras outside of residence halls, they are encouraged to discuss them with Student Congress.
“I personally believe [cameras] won’t make a difference,” Bowling said. “Without the proper resources, they would be useless. I believe that it is better to use the money to install better lighting.”