BYU steps up its security with updated surveillance cameras

Security Camera on Kimball Tower. BYU has integrated new security cameras around campus. (Hassan El-Cheikh)

BYU recently upgraded security cameras around campus as a part of its master safety plan to help students and faculty feel safer on campus.

In 2021, 26-year-old Jacob Hansen was charged with three counts of sexual battery for groping several women on or near BYU campus. BYU surveillance footage helped identify him.

According to Todd Hollingshead, media relations manager for BYU, the university is making an investment in upgrading and installing new security cameras around campus. A number of existing cameras will be upgraded to newer models that will capture higher quality video under a wide range of lighting conditions and provide better video comprehension to reduce network bandwidth.

Security camera on the west side of the Talmage Building. Cameras will be able to capture higher-quality video and reduce network bandwith. (Hassan El-Cheikh)

“The safety and security of our campus community is our top priority,” Hollingshead said. “This investment in campus cameras helps our dedicated security team to protect our campus and to make sure our students and employees are safe as they focus on learning and working at BYU.”

Despite the upgrades to surveillance cameras, BYU student Leah Gale is not sure if cameras alone will solve the issue of campus security.

“I’m really grateful BYU is upgrading their security and adding more cameras, but ultimately, getting cameras is not going to solve deeper issues of assault etc. that college campuses face,” Gale said.

Gale is not the only BYU student who worries about campus security. One 2021 BYU study suggests women feel significantly less safe in nighttime settings on campus, especially in high-entrapment areas. Since women feel more vulnerable walking around campus, the university is attempting to address those concerns with the security camera upgrades.

“I feel somewhat unsafe walking around campus by myself. I’ll call a friend to have someone to talk to but also to dissuade anyone from coming near me,” Gale said.

According to Hollingshead, many of the existing cameras will be replaced with newer models, and new cameras will be installed both inside and outside those buildings. Along with corridors and hallways, many classrooms will also be equipped with cameras. These cameras were installed in previous years to provide remote learning to students during the pandemic. While these cameras cannot capture or record audio, they can be used in case of emergency for campus safety and security.

A security camera next to the Joseph F. Smith Building. These upgrades are all a part of BYU campus’s Master Safety plan. (Hassan El-Cheikh)

Hollingshead said most of the cameras were installed over the summer as part of the campus’s master safety plan. Although BYU will not disclose how much they have invested into the security upgrades, Hollingshead emphasized the updated security cameras are another example of the university’s commitment to keep campus safe.

If BYU students or employees need assistance or have questions regarding security on campus they can contact BYU Security at 801-422-2222, BYU Police at 801-422-0911 or dial 9-1-1 for emergency response.

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