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Cameras Added for Enhanced Security

Additional closed circuit television cameras installed in Chicago, Evanston

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May 5, 2011

Northwestern continues to increase the use of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras as a crime deterrence tool and to assist in the investigation of criminal incidents that have been observed or reported on campus. The University is currently adding 65 cameras to the Chicago campus and will install 30 more cameras in and around the Technological Institute. 

The cameras on the Chicago campus will capture video at interior public entrances to all University buildings such as Rubloff, Abbott Hall, McCormick and Lurie. Cameras also are being installed in large public venues such as Thorne and Lurie auditoriums as well as 24-hour study spaces used by the law and medical schools. Several new cameras also will be installed on the exterior of buildings to cover loading docks. Finally, several older emergency telephones will be replaced with new emergency phone towers that will have cameras affixed to them. These new phones and cameras will cover sidewalks and some streets adjacent to campus buildings. 

Some cameras may be fixed in place while others will have the ability to point, tilt and zoom. The state-of-the-art, high-definition cameras will digitally record and be stored to secured locations.

While the cameras are not actively monitored by University Police (UP), officers working in the UP communications center have the ability to access cameras where criminal incidents have been reported and to monitor the camera footage on large screen televisions in the center.

The cameras, approved for purchase and installation by the central administration, follow recommendations in an after-action report by University Police related to the incident of a man allegedly seen with a handgun in the Rubloff building in January 2010. While some Chicago interior cameras have recently come online, it is expected that the full project including the new emergency phones will be completed by the end of May.

On the Evanston campus, the installation of 30 high definition cameras at the Technological Institute will begin after camera installation is completed on the Chicago campus. These cameras again will be placed at interior entrances to buildings as well as in corridors that utilize bridges or tunnels to connect to other buildings. On the exterior of the building, cameras will be mounted to cover both the north and south moats as well the Tech Plaza. The Evanston project is due to be completed in June.

Cameras are being installed in part by a request from the Undergraduate Budget Priorities Committee to enhance security at Tech where research activities often continue late into the night and early morning as well as on weekends and holidays. To further enhance security efforts, Tech recently changed its building access policies to secure side doors on weekday evenings and to lock all doors on weekend evenings requiring key use after those hours.  

All CCTV cameras on campus are operated in compliance with the Northwestern University Video Recording and Surveillance Policy.

Topics: University