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Private security joins police on University of Illinois campus

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Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 12:00 am

Security measures tightened last semester on campus will continue to be in effect throughout this semester. Along with the University Police Department, University Housing has introduced new measures.

G4S Security Solutions, a private security company, has been hired to patrol student dorms late into the night. These uniformed officers will check exterior doors and monitor the common areas from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Lieutenant Skip Frost said while the police and the private firm are separate, they work hand-in-hand to promote a safe environment.

“They’re just extra eyes and ears in the housing areas to alert us to any incident we need to be aware of,” Frost said.

These security guards will be in all halls owned and operated by Housing.

G4S officers are divided among four different zones, where one security officer is in charge of his or her respective zone.

Some students, including Melanie Marks, freshman in LAS, say they don’t believe the private security team is going to make much of a difference on the floors of the hall.

“They might help the outside (hall common areas), but they’re not really going to do anything for the problems inside (residential living areas). It might help for eliminating people who don’t go to the University,” Marks said.

University Housing is also purchasing doors for shower stalls for undergraduate halls. According to University Housing, a timetable of when installation will start and be completed should be set early next week.

All bathroom doors will remain locked as an additional security measure.

John Seo, senior in Engineering, said Housing has done more than enough to increase security around halls, but it is an annoyance sometimes.

“I do commend their efforts. (Housing) has done a lot so that people will feel safer; whether or not it’s making that much of an impact,” Seo said. “I think the locks in the bathroom are just kind of an inconvenience.”

According to Frost, one of the problems that continue to challenge the security measures are intentionally-damaged locks.

“(The locks) are disabled so quickly for whatever reason. That’s a huge problem,” Frost said. “We take steps to improve safety and security, yet the people, (who) we put them in to benefit, are disabling them.”

In the common areas, all exterior doors will remain on card access for all hours of the day. In addition, surveillance cameras are being installed near all entrances to dorm halls and select locations throughout campus.

Frost said cameras are being installed in places where there are “a lot of people” or places where crime frequently occurs.

“(Cameras) are going up as quickly as we can get them set up and integrated into the system. (They are) going to start paying dividends,” Frost said.

Some crime footage captured will not only be exclusively available to the University Police but also to students, faculty and staff in crime alerts and on the University Police website.

“We try to be in as many places as we can. These are crimes of opportunity; reduce the opportunity for them to occur, and you’ll reduce the crimes,” Frost said.

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