A review of security cameras at Northern Kentucky University has yielded nothing to assist police investigators in learning more about a student-reported attack. There is no video footage of the area where a student said she was grabbed from behind in a major parking lot near Steely Library on Feb. 15.
Kevin Golden, president of the Student Government Association and voting member of the university’s governing board, said that the university should look at improving security camera coverage on campus in light of this incident.
“If there wasn’t one there, then the university has to take a look at that,” Golden said.
According to Larry Blake, assistant vice president for facilities management, the university has a total of 186 security cameras installed. Most of these are in high-traffic areas such as entrances and exits of campus residence halls, academic buildings and parking garages. Lobbies and lounges are areas were cameras can be found as well.
Some of these cameras are in and around Steely Library. Police documents state that investigators and the complaining witness reviewed recordings from those areas were unable to identify the alleged attacker. However, there was no camera in Lot I to record where the attack reportedly occurred.
Nonetheless, NKU Chief of Police Jason Willis said that he feels there is an adequate number of security cameras on campus, but he would always like to see more.
“We feel they are in the high-traffic areas, and the coverage we have now is adequate,” Willis said. “We would always like to have more eyes in the sky, speaking from a police perspective.”
Blake echoed the sentiment that NKU has a sufficient number of cameras.
“We believe that our system is at least as extensive as most other campuses our size,” he said.
Willis said the university could always improve in the area but the issue with getting additional security cameras is the additional cost.
“I think any time you think about security cameras, it can be expensive,” he said.
He also said that many students have the mistaken belief that NKU’s security cameras are monitored.
NKU Police have the ability to access some, but not all, of the live streams from security cameras in the event of a campus-wide emergency or specific investigation. However, they do not have people dedicated to watching the cameras for suspicious activity.
Again, the reason that no one monitors the cameras is a cost issue.
“It’d be a great thing to have. You’d have to have three to four full-time employees. You’d have to have the technologies. It’s one of those cost-effective things that would be very, very expensive, especially when you are talking about a campus of this size,” he said.
In the meantime, Willis urges students to be more vigilant when traveling on campus. He suggested that students always make sure to walk in well-lit areas and on sidewalks in order to decrease the likelihood that they will encounter trouble.
Story by Jesse Call