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Big Brother on Campus…Worth it or Not?

“Some people expressed surprise and outrage when they discovered that the university operated an elaborate network of sophisticated cameras monitoring almost every corner of the campus.”


Careers First Person Illustration #2

Are you being watched? I have no idea whether or not our campus has video cameras around, but I think this a timeless issue: Individual Liberty (Privacy) vs. Collective Security. This issue would fall under the 4th Amendment’s protections against “Unreasonable Searches and Seizures.” In a public setting like our campus, do you think it is reasonable to be videotaped?  Does it make a difference whether the cameras are hidden or disclosed?  

There are other studies that suggest that there has not been a reduction in crime. Here is a telling quote:

“Mostly, though, studies across the country have failed to document significant drops in crime after the installation of video surveillance systems. And even though police looked to videos of Times Square in their recent investigation, it was tips from vendors and good old-fashioned detective work — not cameras — that lead them to the bomber.”   

If there is no a reduction in crime, why do cameras continue to multiply, particularly in urban areas? What do you think the trend will be regarding surveillance cameras?


9 comments on “Big Brother on Campus…Worth it or Not?

  1. Adelle Charles
    January 16, 2012

    Although cameras in school violates the 4th amendment of unreasonable seaches and seizures.I find it necessary to have survailance cameras on college campuses.why? These systems consist of cameras placed in areas where they can monitor and record activity as it takes place,helping you the student in situations where no one is liable of the truth.Another advantage that can be measured is a reduction in property damages such as vandalism and theft however,Naturally, proponents of using these systems emphasize the benefits, while opponents discuss the drawbacks. If you would not agree also agree video surveillance can give a piece of mind for students and staff.On the other hand ,even though survailance cameras has not helpped in the decresing of crime in Urban areas it is still usefull to keep cameras around when all else fails. I belive the surveilance camera trend would continue to grow in terms of technology and amount.
    Privacy vs Security

  2. Wayne Smith
    January 17, 2012

    Wayne Smith
    January 17,2012

    I think that having surveillance cameras on campus would bring a false sense of security to most students. In my opinion it would be equal to having a security gate at an apartment complex, catching some of the crime but not all. If the surveillance cameras were hidden or disclosed it would not serve as much of a deterrent. I believe once a person sets in his or her mind to commit a crime, he or she will continue with that same kind of thinking. Its like having a scare crow in the field,trying to stop the crows from eating the crop. They know that the scare crow is there,but some of them are still going to eat the crop.Refering to an article I read by CNN about Cape Fear High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina ,two students shot and injured another. It does not specify whether the two young men doing the shooting were aware of the video surveillence,but it does mention their intensions. They were seen on a surveillance camera before the shooting walking through the halls with a 22-caliber rifle.If someone has it in his or her mind to commit a crime, I throughly believe that person will continue with that mind set, regardless of video surveillance.
    CNN Article

  3. Lara
    January 17, 2012

    I have to question one’s opposition to surveillance in public areas. Personally, I’m in favor of the monitoring of areas such as parking lots, school campuses, and public transportation. I do not approve of surveillance in dressing rooms, which I know some stores have implemented. Regardless if there’s been no evidence of reduction in crime I feel a sense of comfort in knowing someone may be looking out for my well being. There’s little room for interpretation or responsibility when it’s caught on video. I’m actually grateful for the cameras installed at intersections throughout the city. I believe they at least deter people from breaking traffic laws and therefore make the roads a little safer. It’s unfortunate that we have to resort to such measures, but I’m glad the technology is in place.

  4. Cameron Degrafenread
    January 18, 2012

    I am not sure as to whether or not there are video cameras on our campus. If there are not already and the school was planning the installation of some, I would have no objections. If video cameras, at the very least, make someone think twice before doing something then I am all for it (as long as it doesn’t come out of my check). I am paying my hard earned money to go to this school, and I would like to have the comfort of knowing that I will be safe and secure. This applies to school as well as anywhere else I may go. If you are not doing anything that you shouldn’t be, what do you have to worry about? It will not harm anyone and sometimes, the cameras do work. It is perfectly acceptable to be videotaped in a public setting. Furthermore, could anyone truly have the audacity to ask for privacy in a public setting? At the end of the day it is simply a social contract. There would be no substantial difference between having visible cameras as opposed to hidden ones. However, if the cameras were to be hidden, there should be some sort of notification such as a sign posted stating that you are on surveillance. Cameras will continue to multiply regardless of the crime rate. Sometimes a city just needs to “appear” that it is actively doing something about crime. By 2050, there will probably be cameras outside all of our doors.

  5. Kenny D. Nguyen
    January 19, 2012

    Although having surveillance cameras may be in violation to the 4th Amendment, having these cameras in campus is important because it’ll provide a sense of protection for the students and teacher of the campus which will provide a “safe-zone” for the people in that area. However, there are some positive and negatives for having these cameras in school. Although cameras can help apprehend criminals doing wrong, the people monitoring these cameras may still do nothing to the suspect as stated in abc news . Another downfall for cameras is that even though it may reduce crime rate in the area the camera is positioned, it may increase crime rate in a different area where there may be a “loop-hole” for the camera where they can’t see their activities. I believe cameras continue to increase in uses because it help provide a false sense of protection giving citizen less worries when walking around when there’s a camera nearby because they’ll know they can catch the criminal if they do get attacked. Having cameras will also reduce the amount of graffiti so that will be a plus to society being more “clean”. Overall, having these cameras will have their ups and down, but it is still necessary that we have them to provide protection and also to ward-off “some” criminal actions.

  6. RobinLTB
    January 19, 2012

    Surveillance cameras can be a good and bad thing. I will start with bad, many banking institutions have surveillance cameras in and around the bank, one thing that bothers me about this, is that even though they are there to ‘catch the bank robber’ I often wonder standing in line at the ATM or the teller, who said that the security guard watching the camera isn’t the bank robber, looking for details to your personal information to access your bank account and steal all of your money? And mind you this is not just me concerned about this, The Guardian UK
    expressed concerns about cameras invading the privacy of the Amish people in Pennsylvania.
    But! on the good side, there have been many criminal cases, where the ‘bad guy’ was found guilty because his face was on the surveillance camera when he robbed the gas station, or in this instance found for murder, as says The Gaurdian UK , where in this case most if not all of the crime was actually caught on tape. Thus showing that even thought crime has not really been affected by the cameras, they do work.
    I feel that cameras will be used in the future, and there will be more cameras being put into place, now whether they will be a waste of money and time or be useful, only time will tell, but this piece of modern technology will not become extinct any time soon

  7. Jay Mehta
    January 20, 2012

    Even though this surveillance camera in schools violates the 4th amendment of Unreasonable Searches and Seizures, i believe we need to have them. Because these days we see in news that there some kid bringing gun and shooting a teacher or a fellow student. If the school has the cameras than they can know exactly who did this horrible murder. And it is a great way to catch any thief, murderer anyone who does not obey the law. That is another reason i believe that these days the camera surveillance has been increased in urban areas, and in many public places.Its a great way to protect public even though we have to give some of our privacy rights, but it is for our safety.

    Surveillance in Schools: Safety vs. Personal Privacy

  8. Erika Candelaria
    January 20, 2012

    I feel like now a day we need many different types of security to feel safe. One of those ways is having security cameras in different places. It doesn’t surprise me that even in college campuses we are having surveillance cameras. This type of security helps us in many ways. An example of this would be in the article, “Big Brother is watching”; an officer says that a college campus installed thirty-five different cameras in the library just to stop theft. I do find it to be reasonable to have cameras just for the safety of others and myself. I do not find it to be a difference if the cameras are hidden or not. I feel like either we are still being watched. I also agree with cameras being placed in places where high rates of crime are shown. Cameras in urban areas are more common maybe because they want to lower crime rates in those areas. Surveillance cameras will continue to grow and we will see more off them. In an article that I found it talks about how in Chicago they have now placed surveillance cameras. This helps many police officers when someone need or is in danger. In reality cameras will become the eyes of the future!

    The New York Times

  9. Valerie Jenkins
    January 21, 2012

    I do believe being videotaped on our campus is reasonable excluding places like the restroom. Looking at the Ohio University rapes on their campus in the last year they have had several. Could video cameras have stopped these rapes? Maybe a few, however, cameras could have aided in the capture and the conviction of these criminals. After researching most articles stated that that cameras haven’t lowered crime rate. In this article it talks about how a New York University statistical study shows no evidence that crime was lowered in two neighborhoods. It also talks about a drunken woman that was excused home by two officers, one raped her while the other watched. These officers were caught on camera entering and leaving her building 3 times. I don’t believe it matters if the cameras are hidden or disclosed as long as there is posting that cameras are recording. In Canada they have the Alberta’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act which is legislation that deals with access to information held by public bodies and protection of our privacy. This act includes video surveillance on universities.

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