Cameras considered to tighten security

By Carol Ekstrom

The effectiveness of the current security system at NIU residence halls is being questioned by some NIU officials, and security cameras could be the answer.

The current system involves door guards who check the identification and keys of the residents after a certain hour in the evening. Each resident is allowed two guests who also must show a photo identification to enter the building.

Gilbert Hall Director Sue Zarlenga said she believes problems could arise with the current system.

“I think cameras would be a good idea because the door guards can’t keep their eyes on everything,” she said.

However, NIU Associate Director of Housing Jack Felder disagrees. He said he believes the system works well and security cameras would pose other problems.

“Security cameras make a statement to people, they scare them and it makes them feel that there is something to hide,” he said. “There are pros and cons to this proposal, but I don’t think NIU has the justification for them right now.”

Security camera systems have been installed at Western Illinois University and have lessened acts of violence considerably, according to Greg Miller, associate director of Residential Life and Facilities at WIU.

“There was a notable difference between the before and after stages of the area we tested,” Miller said.

Some administrators said they thought the cameras could be beneficial, but would be too expensive to install.

Kyo Mitchell, coordinator for the security systems at Grant Towers, likes the idea of cameras, but thinks it will be too costly.

“I think security cameras are a good idea, but whether it will happen or not is another question,” he said.

Chris Halvorsen, junior political science major, is a resident at Stevenson Tower North. He thinks the current system works well, but cameras might help keep crime down.

“If they did have cameras, they (the police) could find out who had entered the building if something happened,” he said.

A resident at Neptune East, Francisca Chaparro, likes the idea of a camera system because it would provide proof of intruders.

Chaparro, a junior accounting major, said the cameras could help police identify the bad guys.

“Sometimes unruly people come in and there are problems identifying them later on,” she said. “Having a camera system would make it easier to identify these people.”