Security cutbacks mean less people and more cameras

By Christopher Blatch

Campus Security will be expected to work with less patrol officers due to the recent University of Calgary budget cuts.

Until now, Campus Security has functioned with four eight-person teams providing 24-hour coverage. Two extra security officers are also available to beef up security teams during particularly eventful nights, like “ThursDen.” The change means they will have to function with one less security officer per team.

CS covers both the main and foothills campuses and deals with the Spyhill Campus on a call-by-call basis.

“Our officers will just need to work a little harder,” said Campus Security director Lanny Fritz. “We’re not dropping or eliminating any services at this point.”

To supplement security, additional CCTV cameras are being installed around campus.

“We’re getting additional cameras — as new buildings go up we’re including CCTV,” said manager Ken Kress. “It’s easier to add the cameras in while they [are] being built . . . and cheaper than adding them to the pre-existing buildings.”

Both men stressed CS will maintain the same level of security they have in the past.

“We’re still able to respond to all of our security calls,” said Kress.

Fritz explained the majority of security issues on campus deal with ThursDens, concerts and theft.

“Our biggest crime problem is theft. Three hundred thousand dollars a year in personal and U of C property is stolen every year,” said Fritz, adding that cameras help deter thieves.

“Most of the problems we have are the non-students,” said Fritz.

“The majority of thefts are the result of non-students who come to campus and wait for a student to leave their computers and iPods unattended when they take a break. There are people making a living off of students,” said Kress, noting bikes in the summer can be a huge problem.

“Transit security is a lot of help too,” said CS supervisor Lisa Walker.

“Transit security can act anywhere the busses go throughout campus.”

Transit security also ensures the safety of the University train station.

As for the Den security problems, Fritz explained that swiping student cards has helped combat concerns.

“When students can’t be anonymous it helps,” said Fritz.

He added that the Den is also a lot better organized than it has been in the past, with Den management attending weekly security briefings.

Due to Students’ Union policy, Den management declined to comment.

Fritz did, however, add that Safewalk has one of the largest pools of student volunteers it has ever had, which assists CS in its tasks.

Safewalk is a volunteer-based organization that escorts students safely across campus when called to do so.

Safewalk coordinator Liam Cummings said he doesn’t foresee any problems with the reduction in security officers.

“I don’t think there will be any significant change, there will be just as much security on busy nights, its just going to be paid for from different bodies,” said Cummings.

He explained outside security will likely be brought in for special events and off-duty police can be paid to attend events or busy Den nights.

Cummings did point out that safewalk is facing a “busier year than any other time.” He thinks more people are utilizing safewalk because advertising and word of mouth are making it more well known.

As for the safety of students, he said he doesn’t foresee any problems.

“It’s not a drastic cut . . . safewalk’s doing our thing, it’s business as usual and that’s pretty much it.”

Leave a comment