Car burglaries call for updating security systems

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By Abeer Janakat

Six car break-ins and one car theft have occurred on Florida Tech’s campus since the beginning of 2015.

“We don’t have cameras in the residence halls’ parking, but we do have cameras on top of buildings that are capable to be swung and focused in,” said Melinda Morrison, Florida Tech security officer. “However, our cameras are not efficient.”

The car burglaries occurred in different parking lots, the most recent one having been at Southgate on March 3.

“Overnight my car got broken into, and they took the change and my dad’s class ring,” said Erin Splain, ocean engineering sophomore. Splain reported this incident to campus security as well as the Melbourne Police Department.

The overlapping security night shifts from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. are not stopping the burglaries. According to police reports, some of the incidents happened in the late afternoon hours.

Two breaking and entering incidents were reported on 150 University Boulevard within 25 minutes of each other, around noon on March 12, 2015, according to the reports. No valuables were retrieved and the cameras overlooking the area did not catch the offenders.

The cameras are placed on top of major buildings, such as the Crawford Science Tower and the Olin Engineering Complex.

“The problem is that the cameras sometimes are focused on one area, and if they’re not focused on that area, sometimes you may see something happen but it’s at distance so you cannot identify who did it,” said Kevin Graham, director of security.  

The cameras also did not help identify the person responsible for the car theft. The car was parked in the heart of the campus — in front of Clemente center — yet none of the cameras in that area were of any help.

The car belonged to Rachel Tobin, junior psychology student. Tobin reported the car missing when she came back from a five-day Track & Field meet.

“The cops believed that I had someone pick the car up and kept asking if I had the keys or left it open,” Tobin said. “I showed them the keys and told them I locked my car because I knew we were leaving for a few days.”

Tobin and Splain agreed that in order to minimize such incidents on our campus, more security cameras should be placed around campus. “I feel like if there were cameras they would have been able to actually do something,” Splain said. 

There is only a limited number of cameras that cover campus parking. “If somebody’s car is broken into we would investigate it the best we could, but we’re only limited to what we have,” said Morrison. “If we have a camera that is facing that area and you can see what happened all you can say to the victim is ‘well it happened around this time.’”

Morrison believes that our campus needs more cameras and an upgraded camera system. “We don’t have anybody that monitors the cameras,” said Morrison.