Students are reminded on a daily basis of just how crucial it is to stay alert and safe on campus. When living in residence halls, part of the students’ safety is dependent on the security systems put in place by the University. There are security cameras at the entrance of every residence hall and security teams working diligently to patrol the halls. However, these security cameras don’t produce clear pictures. Campus safety should be a priority for the University, especially after the recent sexual assault in West Quad Residence Hall. The current cameras need to be replaced with higher resolution ones that will make identifying potential suspects an easier process.
On Jan. 13, police reported a rape in West Quad after a woman reportedly walked home from a party escorted by a stranger. After further investigation images of a suspect surfaced from nearby security cameras that proved blurry and made any means of identifying the suspect difficult. The man was finally arrested six days after the reported rape and released. The investigation is ongoing.
The extensive amount of time it took the perpetrator to be identified by UMPD is unacceptable. The suspect was identified after the University police received a tip, not from the stills taken from the cameras. In the future, it’s important that the University re-evaluates how this process can be quickened — which should involve better technology.
However, students’ privacy is extremely important. High-resolution cameras should replace the current cameras, which are located at outdoor entrances to dormitories. Students’ privacy shouldn’t be invaded, considering other viable solutions to this problem exist. The multiple cameras placed at each entrance to University residence halls are sufficient, but the quality of these cameras is not.
The University needs to take steps to uphold the safety and welfare of all students. This involves using the necessary resources and funding to install higher resolution cameras in all dorms. Though it may be expensive, it’s a crucial investment in the safety and well-being of Michigan students.
With new, high resolution cameras installed, suspects will be identified more quickly and everyone on campus will be able to rest a bit more easily knowing that University leaders took steps to make our community, specifically residence halls, as safe as possible.