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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Crime

Kiosks make campus parking safer


Security kiosks like this one are located in lots 9C, 12A and 4A to provide security in those areas. They were established for crime prevention, as well as improving the image of the campus. | Jack Wehman/The Daily Cougar

Security kiosks like this one are located in lots 9C, 12A and 4A to provide security in those areas. They were established for crime prevention, as well as improving the image of the campus. | Jack Wehman/The Daily Cougar

Students will have an extra pair of eyes watching out for them with the installation of security kiosks in three student parking lots this fall.

The kiosks have been erected in lots 9C, 12A and 4A. The kiosk at lot 9C is manned 24/7, while kiosks 4A and 12A are occupied from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday through Friday. Security will also be present in the 12A kiosk during sporting events. Operational hours will increase pending the hiring of more security officers.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Police Chief and Assistant Vice President for Public Safety and Security Malcolm Davis said. “It’s a way to let students know we’re looking out for their safety.”

The security initiative began in Summer 2009, when a task force assembled by UH President Renu Khator and composed of faculty, staff, students and community leaders were assigned to address growing security concerns among students on campus.

“It’s a great addition to the campus,”said Jeff Syptak, an SGA representative. “Police will be able to respond faster to incidents now.”

Davis said that crime alert emails sent to students throughout the year helped foster a false view that the campus was unsafe.

“It’s a perception battle we’re continually fighting,” Davis said. “Crime has never been as bad as people think it is.”

Mechanical engineering student Jose Guerrero is skeptical of the kiosks’ effectiveness.

“I’ve never really felt safe here,” Guerrero said. “I don’t think they’ll make a difference at all.”

Officers, however, have received mostly positive responses from students.

“Students think they’re right where they need to be,” Davis said.

According to the police, the campus averages approximately 1,000 incidents a year ranging from mild to serious.

Davis said crime has been steadily declining over the past few years, but he has seen increasing concern from students.

The kiosks were constructed last spring. Davis said that the designers were very cautious during the developmental stage because the police did not want to create a threatening atmosphere.

“We didn’t want it to look like a prison guard tower,” Davis said. “We didn’t want it to be the first thing students see.”

Authorities said that more security kiosks are planned in the future, and police wanted to address the areas of maximum concern first.

Police believe that the initiative will be a successful crime deterrent, but they also hope that students continue to play a part in reporting incidents.

“This gives students another place to contact us and get involved,” Davis said. “Working together we can make this campus as safe as it can possibly be.”

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