Officials shop for surveillance cameras

Recent crimes reported in the parking deck have spurred students and officials to consider the effectiveness of having cameras in the deck. Officials are in negotiations with several companies to obtain cameras to increase campus safety.

UNA officials said they are currently working on adding surveillance cameras across campus, including the parking deck where an alleged rape occurred last week.

The alleged rape occurred early in the morning hours of Sept. 26 near the breezeway area that connects Floyd Science Building and Stevens Hall to the parking deck, according to the official incident report.

A man was also arrested on the morning of Sept. 24 for allegedly exposing himself in the stairwell of the parking deck.  John Cameron Crouch, 21, was later booked into Lauderdale County Detention Center and charged with public lewdness.

These two recent crimes come after an incident during the spring semester when a UNA student was approaching her car in the parking deck and was forced at gunpoint to drive to a nearby ATM and retrieve money for the perpetrator.

UNA police Chief Robert Pastula said his officers patrol the campus regularly.

“We have officers patrolling the campus constantly,” Pastula said.  “They make a run through the parking deck at least once per hour.”

Pastula said two companies have recently been contacted to survey the campus and give the university a quote for the services of installing surveillance equipment.

“A company called Sharp Communication came about two weeks ago,” Pastula said.  “Another company through Graybar came yesterday (Sept. 27) and gave us a quote.”

Sharp Communication Inc. is a company based out of Huntsville that specializes in GPS tracking, security surveillance systems and wireless networking.

Danny Anyan with Sharp Communication Inc. said a project like installing surveillance cameras in most locations around campus would take about two months.  Anyan said they only quoted UNA for two of its buildings so far but that those two buildings alone would cost approximately $45,000.

UNA student Alexandra O’Steen said these recent crimes are bothersome.

“I don’t feel like these kinds of things happen that often on our campus or in our town really,” O’Steen said.  “But having surveillance cameras around campus probably would deter future incidents like this from happening.”

O’Steen said she feels university officials definitely want students to be safe.

“I think the people in charge want students to be safe; I mean, without us, they wouldn’t have a job,” O’Steen said.  “Maybe they just never thought about really needing cameras everywhere for us to be safe.”