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Surveillance cameras reduce ISU crime

Mon, 18 Mar 2013 14:40:21 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker

The head of Illinois State University's Police Department says don't expect ISU to follow the lead of the U of I in blanketing the campus with surveillance cameras. the U of I hopes to have 1,100 cameras in place by the end of the year after a big push to complete a network. ISU Police Chief Aaron Woodruff says his budget is a lot smaller, so as various units on campus ask for cameras, they pay to add them little by little. He says there is not a lot of worry about privacy issues.

"The process that we have in place that it requires the President's approval helps to alleviate some of those concerns. We certainly don't place them in areas where there is a high expectation of privacy. Generally they are public areas, or if not in a public area, in a cash handling area."

ISU has about 250 surveillance cameras in place, but Woodruff says often there are multiple installations at one location. He says ISU police and campus judiciary officials use digital footage at least once a week to resolve crimes. He says the highest profile case was an armed robbery about a year ago at the College Avenue underpass.

"The armed robbery occurred right underneath one of the cameras. We were able to use footage of the suspect that actually committed the armed robbery and then look at live video of the residence halls and saw that he had checked into one of the residence halls and so then we were able to piece together what room he was going to."

Woodruff says the digital footage is a valuable tool campus officials use to prevent crimes on a weekly basis.

"It allows us to go back after the fact and hopefully resolve crimes and maybe in that sense that it helps the repetition of the same crime over and over again if you can go and identify the person who committed it the first time."

Footage is stored for only a limited amount of time and is only reviewed as needed. The U of I is installing 200 cameras on its Urbana campus this year, nearly as many as ISU has in all.

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