The Student Government Association (SGA) is preparing a proposal advocating for cameras in the parking deck.
Elianni De La Cruz, chair for the SGA Student Life Committee, said there is no way of knowing who is at fault when there is a car accident inside the huge structure.
“We get a lot of students who are having car accidents, there’s a lot of hit and runs,” she said. “When it comes down to it, no one knows how to solve the problem, who did it, and justice isn’t necessarily being served.”
According to the Department of Public Safety records, however, there has never been a hit-and-run case in the garage.
Patrick Linfante, assistant vice president of Public Safety, clarified that a hit and run is not when a vehicle is hit, but rather a person.
“A hit and run accident is an accident in which a pedestrian is struck/hit by a motor vehicle,” he said. “We have had zero hit and run accidents on campus.”
What De La Cruz referred to were collisions between vehicles, like the one that Deanna Brizak, a sophomore history major, was involved in on the first day of school. Her car was sideswiped while parked on the fourth floor of the parking deck and the bumper was cracked.
A record of the accident was made by the SOPD so Brizak could go through her insurance to pay for damages.
“If there were cameras in the parking garage I would have been able to know who hit my car so I wouldn’t have to put out all that money to get my car fixed when it wasn’t even my fault,” Brizak said.
Brizak said that having cameras in the parking deck is “more of a primary concern because there are more cars that go in and out of there all day.”
She added,“Whereas the lots on the sides are more visible for people to see if something happens and it would be easier to get reported.”
Linfante said there has been 16 reported motor vehicle accidents in the deck since January. Last year there were 19 reported accidents.
He added that Public Safety previously considered the possibility of installing cameras in the parking deck, but decided against it due to two factors—cost and quality.
“It would not only be extremely expensive, but difficult to always obtain quality videos due primarily to the lack of adequate lighting and the physical layout of the deck,” Linfante said.
With the expensive cost of the cameras there is a possibility that, should they be installed, students would bear the financial burden through tuition raises and other student expenses to offset the cost, Linfante said.
When asked if these student expenses were worth cameras in the deck, De La Cruz said it would be the student’s decision in the end.
“We represent the student body and we are a representation of what they want on campus and if they decide they didn’t want that [to pay more for cameras] we wouldn’t push for it. But if they decide it was for them, we would fight for it,” De La Cruz said.
The parking deck is monitored by Securitas officers who patrol the area.
In addition, cameras are operating all over campus and Public Safety is in the process of installing more. Public Safety is in the planning stages of adding cameras along the perimeter of campus. When that is completed they will add cameras in the surface parking lots behind Xavier and Serra halls.
With SGA’s proposal working its way to Public Safety, students will have to consider whether or not they are willing to take on extra costs and fees to install cameras in the parking deck, which may or may not be effective.
Ester Belfer, a freshman biology and physical therapy major, as well as a commuter, said she sees no reason for the cameras.
“When I leave my car in the parking deck I don’t feel like something bad is going to happen to it because we do have good security here. So I don’t think cameras are gonna give us something we don’t already have,” Belfer said.
Madison Feser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.