Former Syracuse University student explains camera initiative proposal

Riley Bunch | Staff Photographer

In Syracuse University's surrounding neighborhood, where many students live, there have been 2,556 crimes from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2015, according to the Onondaga Crime Analysis Center.

Since the summer of 2014, Alexander Lynch has felt the need for more security around off-campus housing.

Lynch, a class of 2016 Syracuse University alumnus and current community safety and security analyst for the Department of Public Safety, spent that summer living off campus on Euclid Avenue, and every morning he woke up with a fresh set of handprints on his car, he said.

“As a student, you’re here for an education, not to be victimized by crime,” Lynch said.

After Student Association President Eric Evangelista said at last Monday’s Student Association meeting that the off-campus camera security initiative made progress, Lynch provided details about his work after graduation on the largest camera installation project in Syracuse.

Lynch has been working to introduce over 40 cameras surrounding off-campus housing to enhance security for students.

The first phase of this project will introduce eight cameras down on Euclid Avenue, costing $88,000. The smart cameras would have the capability of zooming down streets and focusing on high crime areas.

In the surrounding area where most of those students live, 2,556 crimes happened from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2015, according to the Onondaga Crime Analysis Center.

Regarding off-campus areas, “nothing is really left untouched,” Lynch said.

Lynch hopes the project will be organized between Syracuse University, SU’s Department of Public Safety and the Syracuse Police Department. SPD will have jurisdiction and will be in charge of tracking the cameras. That process will take place at the Onondaga Crime Analysis Center, where other security footage gets reviewed.

Lynch was hired by DPS in August 2016. His main responsibility is to launch this project as he works with DPS and SPD.

After spending two years working on the project through his senior capstone, his research found installing cameras would “drastically” reduce crime as it would deter criminals, Lynch said.

Lynch also believes that students are targeted by criminals, because, he said, they are more prone to leave their doors unlocked and their windows open. While living off campus during summer 2014, the apartment below Lynch was broken into.

“Students have the responsibility to keep themselves safe,” Lynch said.

Lynch has spoken to landlords who rent out their houses to students for the year, and those who have spoken to him said they are willing to provide some funding for the cameras, he said. One landlord, Lynch said, has already committed to paying for four cameras.

Still, cost and weather stand in the way. Lynch said the project is expensive and funds are needed for it. While it is unclear how much money it will provide, SA will allocate money for some of the cameras. Lynch also said it will become more difficult to install the cameras once the snow comes, meaning implementation of future phases may have to wait until the spring 2017 semester or later.


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