Security cameras on campus do more good than harm

October 14, 2010 — by Dylan Jew

The idea of secretly being watched is a popular idea in many horror movies. Someone’s out there, watching your every move … But should this invasion of privacy be enough to stop schools from installing cameras to monitor activities during and after-school hours?

Contrary to the “Big Brother” dystopia suggested in George Orwell’s “1984,” the reality is that cameras have made SHS a safer place. Indeed, more cameras should be bought and put around campus. The benefits of security cameras far outweigh any infringements on students’ privacy.

Saratoga has about 20 cameras on campus, according to assistant principal Chris Cerbone, but he said the school could use more in certain areas.

By installing cameras, the school could find evidence of misconduct even when authorities aren’t around to catch wrongdoers in action. The idea of security cameras alone deters potential criminals. When students or others hear that more cameras are located on campus, they will think twice before doing something they will regret.

Students and staff may not be thrilled at the prospect of having their every action caught on video. There is always the fine line between privacy and safety. Balancing these two issues is always a challenge. However, installing cameras has more benefits than detriments.

Another factor is cost. Purchasing and installing cameras is not cheap, and with looming deficits, the district needs to save as much money as possible. Right now, the school can spend its money better funding educational programs than on more security cameras.

However, after the financial situation is under control, it would be a good investment to purchase more security cameras and catch thieves that can cost SHS even more money than the cameras’ initial cost.

With more cameras around campus, police may have gotten enough evidence to arrest the thief responsible for about $30,000 of stolen items from the school much earlier.

Not only can cameras be used to catch people misbehaving, they can be used to ensure people act appropriately at all times. Students do many things at school they would not want to be recorded doing. If they knew they were potentially on camera, students would think twice before making a regrettable action.

Anybody out in public understands that their actions or appearance can be seen by others. Cameras don’t change this; they only make it certain.