Placing security cameras throughout the Pierce College campus, including in its classrooms is certainly a noble idea. The installation of surveillance cameras would undoubtedly lead to, at the very least, a slight increase in overall awareness regarding campus happenings. However, who is to say exactly what level of safety and protection would actually be achieved? The minimal security benefits to be gained from keeping 24-hour tabs on Pierce students are certainly not worth the constant invasion of privacy.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the use of security cameras in any given area generally tends to decrease overall crime in that area by about 20 percent. That is certainly nothing to scoff at; however, this still leaves quite a large percentage of crime unaccounted for.
If the implementation of security cameras at school could altogether cease or even dramatically reduce the frequency of theft, vandalism and other crimes, then the pros would most definitely outweigh the cons. Likely, Pierce students could see the sense in forgoing their privacy during campus hours in order to ensure a 100 percent crime-free college environment. However, this is not the case.
The fact of the matter is simple: Pierce students shouldn’t be forced to give up their privacy while on campus grounds. If surveillance cameras were placed throughout the college, then students would be unable to have even the slightest semblance of privacy. Students could essentially be tracked and their movements followed. This is no different than the U.S. government tracking individual citizens through the use of their cell phones—it’s completely unethical.
Having their movements tracked 24/7 wouldn’t make students feel safer. The fact that anyone could technically be able to find such extensive campus security videos is a scary proposition.
It also raises the question: Which faculty members should be trusted with this information? Pierce College professors and faculty members are absolutely wonderful; however, statistically speaking, it’s unlikely that all staff members can be trusted completely. By the same token, faculty members would probably feel uneasy about the idea of their movements being tracked.
Pierce College students and staff whether criminally inclined or otherwise, would likely prefer that the school didn’t have security videos displaying how people have spent their time each and every day.
Pimping out Pierce College with hundreds of cameras in order to capture a student’s every moment is out of line.
However, video surveillance is not necessarily a bad idea. Cameras at school could certainly be a beneficial safety tool if used properly and ethically.
If campus officials find a middle ground in which cameras are placed only in certain key areas throughout the college, then Pierce would be a bit safer and the students would retain a certain level of a much-needed privacy.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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