Peeking on pillagers: Whittier considers cameras

Peeking on pillagers: Whittier considers cameras

Amanda Oropeza
Staff Writer

 Residence hall at Whittier College

Residence hall at Whittier College

A large portion of the students on campus live in the residence halls. These residence halls have become a home away from home for many students, who naturally  expect a certain level of security, not only for them, but for their possessions, as well. Unfortunately, there have been occasions where items have been stolen, making students wary of their level of safety. Campus Safety advises students to take their own safety precautions. However, as a way to assist Campus Safety in its efforts to capture these thieves and prevent items from being stolen in the future, students have requested that security cameras be installed in the residence halls.

Third-year Eryn Wells and second-year Nati Yitayew are largely responsible for pushing this initiative. They are both passionate about seeing cameras placed in the entrances and exits of the residence halls because they have both experienced the negative effects of having possessions stolen. Though Yitayew’s items were not personally stolen, he knows people whose items were taken, and the rest of his dorm had to pay for a theft they did not commit. “In the Fall, five TVs were taken from the Harris Hall, and we [the residents] were all charged $15 each to replace them,” Yitayew said. “This assumption of guilt on the students is what led me to push for more cameras on campus.” It is evident that these thefts have not only affected the victims, but everyone in the residence halls as well, since students are essentially  paying for someone else’s crime. 

When asked about these thefts, Director of Campus Safety Jose Padilla said, “I can only confirm that there have been some thefts related to laptops. Specifically, Macbooks have been targeted. Additionally, there has been an arrest linked to two Macbook thefts that were recovered.” Padilla warns students to take their own safety precautions. “My department is taking this matter very seriously, but we can all help to prevent thefts. I’d like to remind students who live in the residential halls to always lock their room doors and make sure to close the door behind them when entering the building.” Simple steps made by students can help prevent future thefts. Also, if anyone sees anything suspicious happening on campus, they should immediately contact Campus Safety at 562-907-4211. As the saying goes: it is better to be safe than to be sorry.

With Campus Safety’s advice in mind, both Wells and Yitayew still believe that the addition to the surveillance system would help dramatically decrease the number of thefts. “We are worried incidents like what happened in the Fall could happen again,” said Wells. Not only do Wells and Yitayew share this fear, but through asking other students their thoughts on the installation of the security cameras, many agreed that they were needed. “I think cameras are a great idea!” said third-year Turner resident Catherine Talty. Third-year Harris resident Marissa Mendelson said, “I’d be totally okay with having the cameras installed. I heard about the TVs being stolen. I think cameras could definitely help.” 

Steps made towards acquiring the cameras are underway and have recently been brought to the attention of key figures here on campus. “Last week,” said Wells, “Nati and I met with Jose Padilla, Dean [of Students] Joel Perez, [Vice President of Finance] James Dunkleman, [Director of Rights and Responsibilities] Siobhan Skerritt, and Residential Life Representatives Josh Hartman and Tea Bouge.” This meeting went over both the pros and the cons of investing money into a better surveillance system. While it went well, for now, nothing has been set. “Dunkleman said he’d let us know if the school would be willing to invest in this project by the first week of May,” Wells said. She is hopeful that there will be a positive outcome, as the groundwork for possible change has begun.