Ridgecrest South to add cameras

William Evans

Housing and Residential Communities is providing security cameras in Ridgecrest South, David Jones, executive director of HRC, said in an e-mailed statement.

“As a part of our long-range plans to improve our residential facilities, we focused first on providing security cameras at exit and entrance doors,” Jones said. “We have planned on installation interior cameras for several years and [are] at a point to begin this process now.”

Ridgcrest South has seen extensive vandalism this year, with broken ceiling tiles, damaged exit signs and dirtied walls.

HRC has neither a tally of the cost for the damages nor a date set to institute what HRC calls “group billing,” which will be enforced if the culprit(s) is left undiscovered, said Alicia Browne, associate director of information and communication for HRC.

However, HRC is optimistic that the vandals will be identified in time to preclude the use of “group billing.”

“It is our hope that the persons responsible for the damage are identified,” he said. “We are still optimistic that we will find the persons responsible.”

Students are expected to pay full restitution, including the replacement cost and labor, for the items damaged, Browne said.

HRC, however, can demand restitution from an apprehended suspect only when evidence exists to connect the suspect to a particular incidence of vandalism, Browne said.

“With no evidence that someone committed a crime, we would not assume that person to be responsible,” she said.

If evidence surfaces, however, punishment for vandalism can result in relocation or exclusion from on-campus living, Jones said.

“Relocation is a solution in some cases [but] other times it is a complete removal from the residence halls,” he said. “Each case is considered independent of each other.”

Security cameras will become fixtures on the second floor of Ridgecrest South to deter future acts of vandalism.

“All that remains [to be repaired] is the replacement of ceiling tiles,” Jones said. “This will be completed as the wires for the security cameras are installed in the next week.”

Matthew O’Brien, a resident adviser in Ridgecrest South and a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering, said the surveillance of the security cameras will deter vandalism.

He said the cameras are crucial since HRC cannot charge a suspect with committing vandalism unless tangible evidence supports the accusation.

“Speculation doesn’t allow us to charge someone for something,” he said.

Carly James, a resident adviser in Ridgecrest South and a senior majoring in anthropology, international studies and French, said one resident on her floor was booted last semester from the residence hall for vandalism.

She said eyewitnesses attested to the resident vandalizing the area and HRC canceled the student’s housing contract as a result.

She said she believes the cameras will make the job of identifying vandals easier since those responsible evade detection by lying or feigning ignorance.

“Our dorm is by far the worst when it comes to destruction… objectively speaking,” she said.