OPINION: There should be cameras in campus parking garages

Taya Thornton | The Arbiter

In its 2022 crime log, Boise State University logged 18 incidents that took place in either the Brady or Lincoln Garage. These incidents included hit and runs, vandalism, vehicle burglary and even grand theft.

Of these incidents, 13 are still open for investigation and three are inactive (no further investigative action is required at this time or leads have been exhausted), meaning only two of the incidents logged are closed. 

In comparison, Idaho State University, which has cameras with 24-hour monitoring for their parking areas, logged 72 incidents in their 2022 crime log. All but seven have been closed to investigation.

The seven incidents not closed were outside agency reports, meaning a law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the area received the incident. Incidents with this status are often from the previous year in response to an annual request for crime statistics.

It goes without saying that the use of cameras, specifically in parking garages, allows for more accurate and detailed overviews of incidents. This video surveillance can identify criminal activity in poor lighting conditions and provide more coverage than security guards or cameras outside of the garages are able to offer.

[Brady Street Garage at Boise State University.]
Taya Thornton | The Arbiter

Boise State University has never had cameras in either of the campus garages. Though there haven’t been any formal complaints, Parking, Transportation and Safety Systems Director Linsey Hartke stated that herself and the director of security, police, and event operations feel this is an important project and are hoping to install cameras in phases once funding is found.

According to Linsey Hartke, the cost to add the infrastructure and cameras to these locations is impactful on Public Safety’s budget.

She explained that installing cameras in the campus garages is a priority, and the cost to outfit the garages, stairwells and elevators with cameras is actively assessed.

According to Boise State University’s Fiscal Year 2023 auxiliary budget book, the university put $5,541,871 toward Transportation and Parking Services during the 2022-2023 school year. 

According to Campus Safety, the annual cost for safety and parking garage monitoring is $96,500.

Linsey Hartke stated that the university administration has always been in support of Public Safety and the projects that they have brought to them. So it seems the biggest conflict in getting these cameras installed is budgeting. 

Transportation and Parking Services is currently committing $750,000 over the next few years to add additional cameras to stairwells, elevators and entrances. I hope that the university chooses to prioritize funding into better security not only for the protection of student property in the campus parking garages, but also for the safety of students themselves.

Boise is a growing city and with that, there is a larger amount of students attending school at Boise State University. The total enrollment of students at Boise State in 2020-2021 was 24,103, this is almost 2,000 more students than counted in 2015. It is crucial that we provide surveillance to make attending the university as safe as possible.

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