Security Cameras Installed in Commons to Monitor Theft of Food, Backpacks

Twenty-three security cameras were installed as part of the Paresky Commons renovations, including two in the lobby, one at the top of each staircase, one in the Emporium, the convenience store in the Den, and one at each of the doors in the new Den, according to Paul Murphy, Dean of Students. Murphy said that footage from the cameras will not be constantly monitored, but will be viewed as situations arise. Cameras are also located at the second floor tray-drops, in the kitchen areas, near the walk-in refrigerators and by the loading dock, according to Paul Robarge, Senior Food Service Director. Murphy said that these precautions were designed to prevent the theft of food and other items from Commons. Robarge said, “We hold about $50,000 of inventory at any given time in this building, and it’s under surveillance so that people don’t walk out with a tenderloin of beef. We have surveillance to protect our assets.” He said that there are many people who enter and leave the building through the basement. Murphy said that, prior to the renovation of Commons, there were security cameras only in the kitchen areas. He added that the new Commons was always going to have cameras, but now they are in located in places like the lobby. Murphy said that the cameras could be used to identify people who did not belong in Commons to the police. “We knew that there were people eating in Uncommons who shouldn’t have been there, and we’ve always had one or two problems a year where people’s backpacks have gone missing,” he said. “And we’re not sure if it’s someone mistakenly taking the wrong backpack or taking things on purpose.” Due to suspicions of candy being stolen from the Emporium, employees moved the candy behind the counter. Murphy said, “I think there have always been stealing issues in the Ryley Room, and we’d like that to stop.” Robarge, however, confirmed that he has only heard rumors of stealing thus far and, after reviewing security footage, does not believe that anything has been stolen from the Emporium. “The reason we moved the candy back was because we didn’t want to put anybody at risk,” Robarge said. “We did not want a situation where somebody just grabbed a candy bar.” Murphy said, “Unfortunately these things happen on this campus. People do steal, and when someone’s been wronged, it’s going to be nice to be able to help that person, find out who took the backpack and do the right thing as far as rules are concerned.” Murphy, Public Safety officers and Robarge are among those who will look over surveillance footage if necessary. Murphy added that he thought video surveillance would be less intrusive than having someone monitor students at Commons everyday.