By Lauren Toole
Last Thursday morning, Andy Wheeler, head athletic trainer, spotted an individual in the laundry room hallway of the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC) attempting to exit the building with a $1,000 set of golf clubs.
“Sir, can I help you?” Wheeler asked.
The man, described as slightly older than a student and in his mid-20s, took off running out the east side of the building. By the time Wheeler reached the exit, the man was sprinting past the train on the Kokosing Gap Trail.
Neither Campus Safety nor Justin Newell, assistant director of athletics and director of the KAC, was informed of the incident until several hours after it occurred.
“We should have been called at that time,” Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper said.
Though normally locked, the golf team’s locker room key had been signed out by a student the night before and had not been returned that day. It was sitting on the bathroom sink of the locker room at the time of the theft.
Newell said that in the wake of this most recent theft, the KAC is reviewing its key and equipment sign-out policy.
Both Wheeler and the student whose clubs were stolen filed a report with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, as the estimated worth of the equipment at that time indicated that the theft could have been a felony, which requires a theft of items over $500. However, the clubs are no longer valued at their initial estimate of $1,000.
Later that day, the security cameras that Newell had ordered the week before arrived. They were installed Monday afternoon by the KAC staff.
After a string of thefts last fall, Safety and the KAC have been considering adding cameras around the building. Newell ultimately spearheaded the decision to acquire cameras, and received advice from Safety after he had them installed.
“They felt, and we felt, it was time to take that step down there,” Hooper said.
“The goal is to be able to put a timestamp ﾗ face ﾗ with what’s coming through,” said Newell. “Overall, we feel that it will be a deterrent more than anything else.”
Currently, the four cameras are recording to a digital video recorder (DVR) in the information technology closet of the KAC. Motion activated with a range of 60 ft., the cameras are kept on a constant loop with over a month of memory. They cover the most strategic areas of the K-Card-only access area of the KAC ﾗ the equipment room, tennis hallway, visiting locker room hallway, locker room hallway coming from the south doors and the main entrance hallway.
Newell hopes to set up the camera that covers the south door and parking lot to record to DVR as well.
Installed during the KAC’s construction due to car vandalism and tree damage, the camera sends a live feed to a monitor in the building’s equipment closet.
“If we make that one active, then we’ll have the building fairly well covered, at least in important access areas,” Newell said.
Installed and paid for through the KAC budget, Newell said the cameras were a building expense rather than a College expense. At $189, the cameras are a “cost effective” and “reasonable” expense for the building, he said. The next step will be to get the cameras networked to Safety so that they will have access to that footage as well.
“We have another tool we can use to help start solving who’s creating these problems, and deal with through the legal system and began to solve these crimes,” Hooper said.
Unsure as to when KAC footage can get linked to Safety, Hooper said, “As long as they’re recording, we’re okay.”
As of now, security cameras will remain at the KAC, and there are no plans to install them at other locations on campus.
“It would be conceivable to continue to add systems to ensure that we are meeting our obligation for the safety of the students, faculty and staff,” Hooper said. “We’re one of very few institutions that doesn’t use cameras.”
Currently, the Gund Gallery, Olin Library, the Greenslade Special Collections and Archives, and the front door of the Office of Campus Safety are the only locations with cameras.
According to Steven Glick, director of security and protective services at the College of Wooster, the institution has had security cameras for nine to 10 years. They’re located in public areas like the library, student union, wellness center and other community zones.
As for the KAC’s cameras, Hooper said that “this is a good start,” but there is a possibility that other cameras could be added throughout the building depending on the success of the current system.
“This is just a small option that we had for ourselves,” Newell said. “It’s a good review and a good source.”
Comments for this article have closed. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email us at email@example.com.