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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

University police faces security budget cuts on campus

Published February 21st, 2014

Every department on campus has been affected by the $1.7 million budget cut, and the University Police (UP) is no exception.

Because of these cuts, UP has been forced to remove some of the cameras around the campus parking lots, but all cameras in the University Center, residence halls and other buildings will remain.

“We don’t have the money to support them. It’s not simply the cameras, but also the maintenance and the storage for them,” said Chief of Police Richard Trende. “It’s not something that we relish, but we didn’t have any place else to take it from.”

According to the University’s annual police report, there have been no reported cases of motor theft on campus since 2010, which is as far back as the report goes.

“The campus is a safe campus. I would say in comparison to many campuses, our crime rates are lower. And compared to city crime, campus crime is much, much lower than that,” Trende said.

Trende said that cameras are not located in all of the parking lots on campus, and that some would remain in place as well. He added that before this round of budget cuts, the plan was to increase the amount of cameras.

“We’ll try and make due with some that we still have. Our original plan, within the old budget, was to add a camera per parking lot per year. Unfortunately that is difficult with the cuts that the state has imposed on us,” Trende said.

The removal of some of the cameras was a difficult decision, but Trende said that there were not many other options of items to be cut.

“We didn’t have any place else to go. If you are forced to cut, you have to cut somewhere. Ultimately it could impact staffing, but we have been able to save that so far,” Trende said.

Senior Mark Ladsten said that he knew about the cameras in some of the parking lots, and could see how the removal could both some students.

“It doesn’t bother me because I am leaving, but for someone coming in it might. I think it also depends on the parking lot itself,” Ladsten said.

Ladsten elaborated to say that it may bother him more if he had consistently parked by Hunt Arena, which does not see much people traffic, as opposed to N Lot which has a lot more people traffic.

Trende added that UP patrols the parking lots daily as well. He also added that students can, and should, take precautions as well, just in case.

Ladsten echoed that statement.

“I also think that it should be the students’ duties to make sure their car is OK. I know freshman and sophomore year I would park so I could look out my window to make sure my truck was fine and nothing had happened to it,” Ladsten said.

The cameras may be getting taken down now as a part of the budget cuts, but Trende said that they could return in the future.

“That isn’t to say that at some time in the future the funding will be there to re-institute the program,” Trende said.

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