By: Alexis Stallard, Editor-In-Chief
Newman students can rest a bit easier knowing that the plans for a new security system were approved over the summer and that installation has begun.
The proposal for the new cameras was spearheaded by Ian Lecki, the Student Government Association president last year and now Newman’s director of residence life. Icer Vaughn, chief information officer, was also involved in the project and proposals.
Car break-ins and stolen and damaged property have been a growing concern on Newman’s campus over the past few years. Lecki, who had his car broken into and damaged several times while a student at Newman, used his time as president to push for new security measures and to raise the necessary funds. The Student Government Association, the Sisters of the ASC, Residence Life and the Newman Board of Trustees all put forth money to purchase the new system.
The most important part of this new system, Vaughn said, is the Flock security cameras that will be installed in the next month. Flock cameras are specially designed to capture individuals, cars and license plate numbers in high quality to make identifying a suspect easier. Wichita Police will have access to these cameras and their footage, which Newman hopes will help slow down the crime rate on campus.
“The Newman University Information Services Desk will be monitoring the security cameras live via two 55-inch wall-mounted computer monitors during working hours, watching for issues and directly dispatching Newman University security if we see items of concern,” Vaughn said.
During non-working hours, Vaughn said, security officers will have access to the live cameras from the security office as well as via their mobile phones, as they do with the current camera system.
The Flock cameras will be placed at all entrances and exits to campus, including through the convent.
“There is no way you can get into campus without being scanned,” Lecki said. “Companies and businesses that put Flock cameras in see a decrease up to 73% in crime rate.”
Lecki highlighted that the difference between the new cameras and the old ones is the quality of the pictures that they are able to capture. The external cameras now mounted on Beata are ineffective at night because the lights from the convent shine directly in the cameras. Moving the angle of the cameras isn’t an option either because it would severely limit the amount of the parking lot that could be seen, Lecki said.
“The cameras are just better at receiving the light and not being blinded and ruled ineffective at that point,” Lecki said.
Internal cameras in all the dorm buildings have already been replaced and are fully functioning, which was not the case before, Lecki said. The external cameras, as well as the new Flock system, are expected to be installed by the end of September or early October, Vaughn said. The external cameras will cover the outside of each dorm building, Sacred Heart Hall and Fugate Gymnasium.
“There are some that are going outside Sacred Heart to cover that area because right now, there is no camera coverage of that part of campus,” Lecki said. “...Another big part of this was trying to get that under surveillance because there are a lot of people that walk from McNeill or the library at night.”
Lecki said that they don’t expect to see crime rates drop instantly but that over time, criminals will realize they cannot avoid getting caught on Newman’s campus. He said the system is linked directly to the Wichita Police Department feeds and can be monitored by them as well.
“Hopefully, this will be a success for us…and we’ll see a significant decrease in the amount of people trying to come on to campus and take stuff,” Lecki said.
If students have items stolen or personal property damaged, Lecki said, they should contact campus security or Vaughn for access to camera footage that may be relevant.
PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Unsplash