New cameras at Z-Center Video surveillance setup upgraded this summer

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Paul D. Niksch, a graduate student in Health Sciences and Technology, walks under the security cameras in W31. The cameras are positioned at the intersection of the locker rooms and the hobby shop.
Elijah Mena—The Tech

Working out? Someone might be watching you.

The video cameras at the Zesiger Center and duPont Athletic Center have been replaced this summer with newer models. The Tech had not previously known of these cameras.

The cameras are at:

• The entrances and exits on Vassar Street.

• The entrances to the men’s and women’s locker rooms in the duPont gymnasium

• Court 3 in duPont (the gymnastics room)

The cameras are nothing new; all but two of these locations have been under surveillance since 2000. According to Daniel Martin, the assistant department head for facilities and operations, advancements in technology motivated the replacement of these cameras with newer models. The new cameras also happen to be more obvious.

Martin said that these cameras are intended to enhance both personal safety and security as the staff size shrinks. For example, when staff were withdrawn from near the duPont equipment room, some complained that the area could become a crime target because of its isolated location.

Footage from such locations can be viewed by staff back at the main entrance to the Z-Center. This differs from the typical viewing policy for security cameras at MIT. Elsewhere on campus, there is a firm policy that footage obtained by the cameras be kept confidential and available for only a brief period of time.

Martin noted that thefts at the athletic centers have declined 2000, when the cameras were first installed and other security measures like alarms were implemented.

He also emphasized that there is a need for protection in an urban environment and that several patrons have asked him to increase security. To that end, the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) may end up commissioning additional security cameras, including one for the weight room.