Crescent Hill completes security camera system

By next week, a new security system on campus will allow University Police (UP) to supervise USF’s parking facilities from anywhere in the world.

More than 20 new surveillance cameras will be installed in the Crescent Hill Parking Facility, a project that will require $37,000 of Parking and Transportation Services (PATS) operating budget, Parking Operations Manager Frank Granda said.

The additions will bring the security cameras in the oldest parking garage on campus up to par with the rest, he said, therefore allowing all of the campus garages to operate off of a centralized video surveillance system.

USF Information Technology chose the cameras that will be installed, and Physical Plant will be in charge of their operation, Granda said. Most of the PATS budget comes from campus parking permit sales, he said.

The old surveillance system included on-site display screens at multiple locations across campus that were not always monitored. If an incident occurred, UP Public Information Officer Lt. Chris Daniel said, officers would have to go back to review the tapes.

The new system will allow UP to access surveillance footage from across campus in live stream on the Internet, from any location.

“We have gone from the technology of the ’90s to the digital age,” Granda said.

The Crescent Hill garage, which sits behind the Marshall Student Center on Holly Drive, was constructed 13 years ago, Granda said. Cameras were installed when it was built, but they have since become outdated.

Granda said the four other parking garages on campus are all less than 8 years old and were already equipped with cameras compatible with the new surveillance system.

Though the new security system will allow for instant access, Daniel said it may not help solve cases, such as hit and run accidents, that occur in the garage, as there are usually other vehicles in the way obstructing crimes.

“It’s one more element to work on,” he said, “but it’s not a case solver.”

Daniel said the quicker access will increase police efficiency while investigating cases.

“In the past, there was a delay,” he said. “Now, it’s at our fingertips.”

According to UP records, there have been 40 hit and run accidents in the campus parking garages since the beginning of the fall 2010 semester, six of which happened this semester.

There have been no reported break-ins in any of the parking garages since the beginning of the semester, according to UP records, and the last theft to take place in the Crescent Hill Parking Facility occurred April 23. The last car burglary on campus took place July 26 in the Richard A. Beard Parking Facility.

Granda said students do not have to worry about this week’s installation process impacting their ability to park in the garage, as none of the parking spaces will be closed off.