In the future, students will need to keep their PennCards close at hand when running to class.
For the past six months, the Division of Public Safety has been piloting Operation Building Safe — a new initiative designed to manage visitor entry into buildings on campus.
The new program will restrict door use during the day by allowing visitors to only enter through one door.
That door will have a concierge installed to monitor entry and exit. All other doors will be PennCard-access only.
“The goal is to have the outer perimeter of our buildings secured,” Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said. By doing so, DPS is able to “cut down on possible suspects.”
An issue Rush hopes to combat with this new program is office theft. With the new system, individuals with offices do not have to worry about theft of unattended items as they did before, she said.
Rush understands the issues associated with this new initiative. For example, she does not expect every individual to swipe in. Instead, she assumes one student will swipe and hold the door open for those behind him or her.
However, she isn’t concerned that this would allow a criminal to enter the building.
“The greatest desire of a criminal is to not be identified,” she said. A perpetrator would not come in with such a large group for fear of being noticed, according to Rush.
The implementation of this initiative is being undertaken on a building-by-building basis.
DPS is currently in discussion with the School of Arts and Sciences about their security measures.
Under the initiative, “SAS and DPS are working to improve the security of our highest risk facilities and to install electronic security in locations where none presently exists,” SAS Executive Director of Facilities Planning and Science Operations Matthew Lane wrote in an email.
He added that presently, SAS cannot estimate a cost for implementation.
Van Pelt Library implemented a “fast pass” system last September involving a digital archive of photos and information of all visitors. This falls under the larger OBS initiative.
The School of Nursing has had a similar program running in Fagin Hall since 2004, according to Vice Dean for Finance and Administration Patrick Burke.
The total cost of the security systems implemented was $455,000. Additionally, there is an $83,000 annual ongoing cost for the building’s security.
Burke highly recommends the system to other schools.
Prior to the security measures, Fagin Hall experienced “rashes of theft,” he said. Since then, “[we’ve] had an outstanding record.”
This summer, Fagin Hall will undergo renovations to develop new classroom space that will house new technology and will be secured by similar means.
Students are not necessarily sure the new security measures will be beneficial, however.
“In Huntsman people use both doors so it would slow things down and people would be late for things,” Wharton freshman Ericka Bautista said.
College junior Celinne Da Costa agrees this change would cause problems for students rushing to class.
“It’s time consuming, especially if you’re late and don’t go through the main door,” she said.
She added, “There are too many [students] for it to work.”
Burke, on the other hand, hasn’t seen students having problems with the security systems in Fagin Hall.
“It’s not much of an inconvenience, especially for their safety,” he said.
College sophomore Caraline Cugley does not consider it an issue. “It only takes two seconds to swipe your card and only one person has to swipe in anyways,” she said.
Cugley does not necessarily believe the security measure will reduce crime, though.
“It’s good in theory but in practice people can walk in behind [students],” she said.
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