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Penn State to Spend $1.4 Million on Security Cameras

Penn State is taking big steps to make campus safer.
PENN STATE, UNIVERSITY PARK - Penn State is taking big steps to make campus safer.

The university is spending $1.4 million to install 450 new surveillance cameras in residence halls and commons areas across its University Park campus.

The project has been discussed for several years now and is becoming a bit of a controversy on campus.

Most students say the extra cameras will make them feel a lot safer on campus. Others though, say it's an invasion of privacy.

"It's also a lot of money to spent on something that's not necessary," Ian Arevalo said.

Penn State freshman Ian Arevalo doesn't want to see cameras in his dorm.

"If they're going to do something, they're going to get away with it somehow," he said.

Others, like freshman Evan Serpis, disagree.

"It's in the main lobby, so it will make you feel safer," he said. "I'm alright with it."

"We certainly want to maintain the security of the campus, so by adding cameras, you're adding another level of security to an already good program," Conal Carr said.

Director of Housing Operations, Conal Carr, says surveillance cameras in Penn State dorms have been in the works for years.

"We wanted to be sure we have the right cameras and the right locations, so it has been an ongoing process," he said.

Installing the cameras will cost Penn State a pretty penny. The university will spend $1.4 million to install 450 cameras in 60 buildings on campus. The cameras will be in main lobbies, elevators and at all entrances and exits of the buildings.

"I think there are all kinds of good reasons why surveillance cameras would make sense," Women's Studies Director, Peggy Lorah, said.

Lorah is glad to see the university is taking action against crime, but says the cameras likely won't stop one of the biggest crimes the university has seen in the past couple of years.

"People who are going to be seen on cameras who might be involved in a sexual assault are probably people who would be there anyway," she said.

Lorah says the majority of the time, a victim of sexual assault knows his/her attacker, so they will likely be seen on camera at the residence hall or commons area with the victim.

She says while the cameras may not stop sexual assaults, they will certainly stop other types of crime.

"There are certainly students who drink excessively and get sick, students who urinate, so there are all kinds of things that can happen and surveillance cameras are actually quite good at catching those sorts of things," Lorah said.

Cameras will be installed starting next month. University staff expect the installation process to finish in May 2014.
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