Alex Butler

Students working in King Library are always caught on camera. One Miami University student says the places where these cameras are needed most is in your residence halls.

According to junior Melissa Saumure, Miami needs to place more importance on student protection by installing security cameras at residence hall entrances.

“I do not expect to receive any kind of special treatment, but this has made me wonder if the university is really making its students’ safety a priority,” Saumure said. “Cameras might have answered a lot of questions for a lot of people.”

In May, Saumure was sleeping in her unlocked room in Havighurst Hall when former Miami football player Zachary Marshall allegedly entered her room and smothered her with a pillow.

Police say Marshall claimed he entered the wrong room since he was tired and drunk. Marshall was also a resident of Havighurst, but lived on a different floor.

“For me, it did not feel good to be accused of lying,” Saumure said. “Like I said before, if I had not picked Marshall out of a photo line-up, I don’t know if he would have been caught. This isn’t to say that (Miami University Police Department) would have been incapable of finding him on their own, but perhaps they are limited by their resources.”

MUPD claims cameras can already be seen around campus at the Bursar’s Office, libraries, the Recreational Sports Center (RSC) and on the street.

One problem with installing more cameras is cost. MUPD Chief John McCandless said there is already a system in place at each dorm entrance, the Hyperbolic Area Coverage System (HARCO), better known to students as the swipe card system at some building entrances.

McCandless said school and law enforcement officials also find it hard to stop students from opening doors for others. He said more cameras can come with their own set of problems.

“The problem with cameras is that: where are you going to put them and who are you going to have monitor them?” McCandless said. “There’s already a lot of cameras on campus.”

McCandless said installing new security cameras would not stop or even adequately control the problem.

“I don’t know that I would say that putting cameras up all over campus would make it a safer environment,” McCandless said. “The system that we have in place, particularly in residence halls, is the HARCO system. If we could get students to not let people in that they don’t know and to lock their room doors we could dramatically decrease the amount of crime.”

McCandless said common sense is the best deterrent of crime on campus. McCandless urges students to take personal precautions by treating their dorm room doors as the front door of a house and locking it at all times.