Volume 92, Issue 91

Friday, March 19, 1999


Tilston would have been fired by USC

Deterring crime with technology

Computing a new degree

Student groups prep for elections

Nuts and bolts with a business sense

Mixed responses to standardized testing


Caught on campus

Deterring crime with technology

By Wes Brown
Gazette Staff

Big Brother may be watching over downtown London if recent recommendations made by the London committee for public safety are put into action.

Prompted by the recent occurrence of stabbings, David Tennant, co-chair of the safety committee, has proposed surveillance cameras be installed in the downtown core.

"Surveillance cameras that have been introduced in high crime areas have done two things – decreased crime and increased economic activity. The presence of cameras makes the perception of safety a reality," he said.

"We're not going to stop violence but we are trying to discourage it. This legislation will centre around weapons and the use of them in violent acts downtown," Tennant said. He added the proposal is pending approval from the city and funding for a possible surveillance implementation has not been investigated as of yet.

Al Gramolini, London's police chief, said if installing cameras is able to increase the money being spent downtown, then the cost to the city will be negligible.

"People are presently withdrawing their money from banks and reopening accounts in rural areas because they are afraid to come downtown. We are dealing with people where perception is everything and statistics are nothing," Gramolini said.

London Deputy Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco said the proposal has not gone to city council or the police board yet.

"We have no real details, nothing has been submitted on paper. A final report is due in May," DeCicco said.

She added while surveillance cameras have been implemented in other communities, whether or not they will work in London is another issue.

Western has had campus surveillance for the past nine years, said Insp. Bob Earle of the University Police Department. He added the cameras were an integral part of solving at least five crime occurrences in the last year alone.

The cameras are monitored 24 hours a day and police are dispatched to problem areas. Earle said the cameras do not view a specific area but try to get the maximum coverage they can.

"The real advantage is giving one person the ability to view more than one area at one time. Technically it would work in London but it cannot be compared to Western. A better comparison would be to cities like Sudbury, where results have been very encouraging," Earle said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999