Smile, you're not on camera: Outdated cameras lead to problems

The last thing a student expects when they park their car at school is for something to happen to it. And even if something were to happen to their car, students shouldn’t have to worry because there are security cameras in place to keep watch of the parking lots.

The cameras in the high school’s parking lot are not doing their job of keeping the school safe. There have been incidents of theft and damage to vehicles where the offender was either found far later than they would’ve been if the cameras could detect them, or they were never found at all.

While the district has updated some cameras, the process of upgrading all the technology should be going more swiftly. A few cameras are able to provide a good image, but others are pixelated to the point that it is hard to make out shapes, and some simply don’t work at all. New cameras are not cheap, but the safety of an entire building should be a priority in the district’s budget.

Senior Josie Cahall’s car was stolen from the parking lot and was not found until late the next day.

Earlier this school year, Cahall went to move her car and when she arrived at the spot where it should have been, it was gone. She checked the area, got in a friend’s car and searched each parking lot, but there was no sign of her car anywhere.

Cahall’s first thought was that her friends might be pulling a prank on her, so she talked to them. However, it quickly became evident that someone had stolen her car.

Next, Cahall told the school resource officer that her car was not where she had parked it.

They looked at the tape from the security cameras but the cameras were at a bad angle. Therefore, they couldn’t fully see the people who got into Cahall’s car.

“It was not good quality. We could only see the tops of their heads and when we zoomed in, it was very pixelated,” Cahall said.

She explained how there are gaps in where the cameras can see and because of that, it was difficult to identify where the car thieves were coming from.

How can a security system put in place to protect thousands of students and staff have blind spots? School security cameras should be able to see the entire perimeter of the school building from multiple angles.

Senior Athena Heckman also had an incident occur while her car was parked at school. Her new car was keyed during the school day and no student was ever found responsible for the act.

Heckman also went to seek help but was brushed off and told that the incident couldn’t have happened at school or that it wasn’t intentional.

The question of whether her car was keyed could have been easily answered if proper cameras were in place to catch the act being done. Heckman still believes the damage done to her car took place on school grounds.

School resource officer Robert Martin explained that while the district has been gradually replacing the security cameras outside the high school, it is not quite a perfect system.

“The district is definitely taking care of it. We have a bunch of new cameras now,” Martin said.

The district can only replace a few of the security cameras at a time due to how expensive they are, Martin said.

While he commended the district for supplying the school with better cameras each year, Martin expressed some frustration about the current capabilities of the cameras.

“You cannot get enough cameras out there. You wish there was a camera on a certain view...and that it was working,” he said.

Martin has the ability to monitor all the security cameras from his desk and the difference in quality in some of the cameras in strikingly obvious.

The incidents that have recently taken place call for a more efficient way of monitoring the school grounds. The cameras currently in place are of poor quality and do not even show parts of the parking lot. This lack of functional security has caused unneeded trouble in situations of theft and vandalism.

Furthermore, if there were ever to be a more serious situation at the school, students and staff would feel much safer knowing that a high quality security system was able to identify and locate any dangerous activity.


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