Though the UH Police Department showed a decrease in most crimes in 2003, the department is continuing to maintain campus safety through patrols and a system of 45 call boxes located throughout the campus.
UHPD Microsystems Analyst David Sarkozi said there are two types of call boxes on campus: Motorola, the older models, and Code Blue, the newer stations that look like tall red pillars. Some of them use a phone located on the station and others use cellular phones, he said.
The boxes cost between $6,000 and $8,000 each. The most efficient are those which run off solar power, like one near the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. Sarkozi said all are durable, which is why replacing the older-model boxes isn't urgent.
“They are currently being replaced, either as the parking lot gets resurfaced or it needs to be moved due to major work. Slowly, (the new boxes) will phase out the older models,” Sarkozi said. “They are still working with pretty few troubles. The paint is wearing, but the boxes are fine.”
Although the Motorola boxes still work, the Code Blue models are cheaper for the University. Sarkozi said the new boxes are less expensive to install because they require no wiring.
“A lot of them are at least 15 years old, so they are using older technology,” he said. “Code Blues are cheaper to operate and so much more visible.”
Officers manually check the boxes each week. Sarkozi said all but two of the stations are in working order now. Units in the Robertson Stadium parking lot and at the Cullen Oaks apartment complex are still in need of repair.
“We are not directly responsible for the phone line in Cullen Oaks, so we have to work with their management,” Sarkozi said. “It looks like just ordering a new phone, but in the end it gets more complicated. We have to get everyone working on the same sequence.”
Although the outdoor call boxes are the most visible, Sarkozi said the emergency telephones in elevators can serve the same purpose.