New cameras are leap forward for Claflin security, chief says

May 07, 2019

The campus now has 144 new cameras with accompanying emergency call boxes. (Panther photo)


Security on the Claflin University campus has taken a leap forward with the installation of new cameras, Chief Steve Pearson says.

The university’s head of campus security met reporters from The Panther to offer details on the news cameras and to assure students that the university is in good hands.

For some time, the university has been researching ways to improve its security system. Pearson said that while Claflin doesn’t have any “major issues,” the old camera system just wasn’t cutting it.

“We had 20 cameras for the whole campus,” Pearson said. “That just wasn’t sufficient.”

The campus now has 144 new cameras with accompanying emergency call boxes scattered across the hilltop.

“You never want to wait until something bad, bad happens,” Pearson said of the upgrade.

“Before, the call boxes didn’t all work and they weren’t that up to date. Now I’m sure you notice them because they’re lit by a blue light,” Pearson said. The light would help someone quickly locate the site in an emergency.

The cameras are made by Avigilon, a Motorola company. “The reason we chose Avigilon is some of the things the camera can do more than a regular camera.” Pearson said.

“All of our new cameras outline anyone that comes across its path,” Pearson said. “The outline feature provides us with viable information.”

Features of the Avigilon cameras include:

●       Finding a person and outlining a person.

●       Giving information about where the person has been before or after.

●       Outlining vehicles.

●       Increasing the speed to find out a person's whereabouts

●       Picking up a person’s size, height, weight and providing the most likely candidate for a search.

●       Allowing a search specifically for a male or female.

Color coding shows humans in red and vehicles in blue, Pearson said.

“This is a great investment for Claflin. Currently we are still in phase one of the installment. We will eventually have 200 cameras across campus. Within the next fiscal year, we hope to move on to phase two. That will include facial recognition and presence detection.”

The university’s investment in the security has been significant, Pearson said.

“The cost was around $300,000,” Pearson said. “Seeing people along with the cameras is what makes it work. We’ve used the cameras significantly already.”

He said campus security also is doing real “boots on the ground” work.  Security personnel monitor the campus and regularly approach people they do not believe are supposed to be at Claflin.

“If you come here [Claflin], you will be addressed,” Pearson said.

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