Virginia Tech Upgrading Video Security System

Reporter: David Tate

Blacksburg, VA - Virginia Tech is investing more than a million dollars to update an old system to have a lot of extra eyes on campus. Officials there say they are looking to add more cameras in an effort to increase security.

Video cameras on the campus of Virginia Tech are nothing new. The problem is over the years, the 250 or so cameras on campus went in piece meal and didn't really fall under one standard and that's starting to change.

"We wanted to consolidate those into one system that we could use efficiently. As it was, there were a lot of stand alone systems and this is just a way to enhance what we are currently doing," said Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum.

A contractor out of Northern Virginia has started that process which has included a thorough analysis of the 2,600 acre campus to locate places where they would be most needed and find spots where a few cameras can cover a lot of space.

"We've entered into a contract with a vendor to take a look at the campus; the main academic area, around the residence halls. How many cameras are needed. What kinds of cameras are needed. What can we do to make this campus safer. So, it's a work in progress," said university spokesman Mark Owzarski.

"Certainly we're not going to put them in residence halls, classrooms and dorm rooms, those types of thing where people have an expectation to privacy. This is for public areas, so people should be rest assured, we're not trying to invade their privacy." said Flinchum.

Phase one of the project is complete which included a system in the new Perry Street garage.

A second phase is then planned for updating existing cameras with a third phase expected to add an unknown number of cameras where most needed.

"The number of cameras really is not necessarily the measure, it's what areas you are covering with that camera," said Flinchum.

Flinchum says he hopes the new cameras will help provide security by deterring crime through their mere presence.

He also says the cameras will be valuable in solving crimes as well.