SFCIC accepts MSA request for garage camera funding

The cameras will cost $12,000 more for each than originally thought.
Surveillance cameras watch over the Virginia Avenue garage at entry and exit points as a car passes by Thursday. The Student Fee Capital Improvement Committee voted Tuesday to approve the Missouri Students Association's request for $50,000 dollars to install similar cameras in the Conley and University Avenue garages.

The Student Fee Capital Improvement Committee voted Tuesday to approve the Missouri Students Association's request for $50,000 to fund the installation of security cameras in parking garages.

The committee will send its recommendation to provide the funds to Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs, who will have the final say on the decision.

"I haven't seen the recommendation yet but I'm aware of MSA's desire to partner with the campus to get cameras in parking structures," Scroggs stated in an e-mail. "My reaction, without having seen the recommendation, is favorable."

MSA requested the funds from SFCIC after passing a resolution to install cameras in the few parking garages without them.

"SFCIC unanimously thought that this project needed to receive some sort of funding," SFCIC Chairman Bryan VanGronigen said. "Many, many students park in these garages both during the day and at night. SFCIC wanted to ensure protection for both the students and the physical property located in the garages."

MSA President Jordan Paul said Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Jackie Jones told the organization that the administration would match any funds MSA could provide or request from other sources.

Paul included parking garage security cameras in his campaign platform last semester. The Turner Avenue, University Avenue and Conley Avenue garages remain without security cameras. Paul said MSA has focused on the University and Conley Avenue parking garages because Turner is scheduled to have cameras installed over the summer.

"A lot of crime takes place in parking garages, especially larceny," Paul said. "It's not specific to Mizzou. Garages can be dangerous places just because they're enclosed."

Paul said early estimates predicted camera installation for each garage would cost $50,000, which prompted MSA to request $50,000 from SFCIC so the money could cover one garage and the administration could cover the other.

Paul said MSA learned the actual cost of the camera installations would be $62,000 for each garage, $12,000 more than the estimated cost.

"We'll find $24,000 somewhere, perhaps from MSA," Paul said. "I'm still pleased with the progress we've made."

MU Police Department Capt. Brian Weimer said he's also pleased to see security cameras installed in the remaining garages.

"This gives us one more tool to solve crimes," Weimer said. "Vandalisms and larcenies are the most common crimes that take place in parking garages and cameras can certainly help us with those."

Paul and VanGronigen both cited the murder that took place in Maryland Avenue Garage in 2005 as a reason for installing parking garage cameras.

"The murder in Maryland garage a few years ago is an example of a crime that might have been solved had there been cameras installed in the garage at that time," Paul said.

Paul said the University Avenue and Conley Avenue garages could have cameras installed before school resumes in the fall and Turner Avenue garage would probably have cameras in the fall.

"Students feel more comfortable with these cameras but there's also the issue of deterring crime," Paul said. "I think people are less likely to do stupid things when they know there are security cameras around."

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