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Campus soon to see surveillance

Districtwide push to install live video-feeds

By George Morin, editor-in-chief
On April 26, 2014

Surveillance cameras will soon be erected at the three entrances to the college.
Campus and Police Services officials from the three sister colleges met on April 16 at the District Office in Martinez to discuss the locations of surveillance cameras on the Contra Costa, Diablo Valley and Los Medanos college campuses, District Chief Facilities Planner Ray Pyle said.
"We want to focus our attention on the college perimeters and the different Early Learning Centers at all three of our colleges," Pyle said.
Police Services Chief Charles Gibson said, "This (installing cameras) is long overdue. We (the district) need to provide a safe environment for faculty, staff and students."
Pyle said, "We (the district) are only funded for programming and the initial design at this point. Source of funds for the full design and implementation for the project is still being explored."
The district is in the early stages of developing the details of the camera project. The district has to meet with a security firm to discuss the basic concepts and scope of the project, including which areas will be the hosts to the cameras, he said.
During the meeting, the constituents from all colleges and the district talked about the possibility of using solar power-to-power the individual cameras, he said.
Gibson said due to the logistics of the project, deciding what equipment to purchase will still take some time.
Gibson visited the Peralta Community College District and viewed their district-wide surveillance camera project. He described the project as "impressive."
"(Peralta has) cameras all over the place watching the different campuses, a centralized location for all the feeds for the cameras with two dispatchers ready to call in an incident," he said. "If something happens at their colleges they can see what happened."
In the fall of 2013, four vehicles were stolen from parking lots on the CCC campus, Police Services Lt. Jose Oliveira said.
"Something needs to be done to curb these crimes," he said.
There are plans to put a total of three surveillance cameras up at each of the street entrances to the college. One will be placed at the corner of Mills Drive and Shane Drive by Lot 10, another positioned on the Knox Center to look over Castro Street and one on Mission Bell Drive by Lots 1 and 2, he said.
Cost of each surveillance camera is estimated anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 just for the unit itself, Pyle said.
The college already has nine surveillance cameras that Police Services can monitor positioned around campus. There are three placed at different angles around the Bus Transfer Station and six positioned in the Student Services Center, Oliveira said. The college has additional surveillance cameras in places such as the Bookstore, culinary arts area and Computer Technology Center.
"Having more cameras on campus will increase the overall security of the college and its students," Pyle said.
Students believe that surveillance cameras on campus would increase their feeling of safety.
Nursing major Yesenia Panucl agrees.
"Cameras on campus is a good idea. Ask any girl and I'm sure they would agree," Panucl said. "They (the college) need to do something about the lighting on campus as well. It's really dark at night. How can cameras pick up any footage if it's too dark?"
Health science major Lei Chao agreed.
"Especially with the increase in crime rates, if we have more cameras I'm sure it would help out. But we need more personnel on campus. Cameras can only help after the crime. We need deterrents from crime," Chao said.
Business major Missael Rodriguez does not believe that the campus should house any more cameras.
Rodriguez said, "It's not like the cameras would actually be physically protecting anyone. The college should hire more employees in place of cameras. That would be a much better idea for safety overall." 

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Residents of San Pablo, CA that are looking to save on energy costs should explore adding a home solar panel system to their house, as this will also help to increase their green footprint.

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