Northwest Missourian Opinion

Someone broke into the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building over the weekend of Oct. 26. The University Police Department is investigating the issue to attempt and find a suspect. 

Countless times every semester, students suffer sexual assault and harassment in public locations. Recently, Oct. 22, a sexual assault in the women’s restroom on the second floor of the J.W. Jones Student Union from Oct. 14 was reported to UPD.  The response was the same — an investigation to try and pinpoint a suspect.

These investigations start with the basics: asking the victim what the assaulter looked like. The mandatory email then follows, in this case, stating the assaulter is a tall, white male, with blue eyes and blonde hair.

Shockingly enough, that description helps literally no one. 

It doesn’t help the investigation, considering that’s the physique for half the campus. While UPD is staffed with talented officers, it’s going to take a bit more than an officer to pull off the deductive reasoning needed to narrow down a suspect out of vague descriptions.

It also really doesn’t help out students trying to avoid the assaulter. Instead, students find themselves feeling forced to carry forms of self-defense while glancing at every person that remotely matches UPD’s reported description with a weary look.

Thankfully, in 1942, Closed Circuit TV was invented in Germany before quickly evolving into modern security cameras, according to technology magazine PCR. A quick glance at Amazon shows security cameras for sale at prices as cheap as $40. They even come with Amazon product support, in case the University is unable to follow the steps for installation and botches the process.

Despite this, Northwest’s campus has a severe lack of security cameras. If the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building had security cameras, the investigation could be sped up immensely. If cameras existed outside of residential halls or bathrooms, the scope of potential sexual assaulters in an investigation could be narrowed down based on the time provided by the victim.

Keep in mind, cameras should only be added in public spaces or outside of bathrooms. Being able to see who entered and left the bathroom would be incredibly helpful without intruding on privacy.

It’s bewildering that a University filled with faculty members holding degrees ranging from bachelor to doctorate can’t pull off some online shopping. Maybe the Maryville use tax really is living up to the fears people had around its impact on online purchases.

Money really shouldn’t be an issue though. If Northwest can’t afford a few hundred $40 cameras, there’s probably a greater issue at hand that needs addressed. In the wake of the large quantity of money spent on the new Hughes Fieldhouse, this would be embarrassing, to say the least

High schools are filled to the brim with security cameras, with hallways often having multiple. If high schools feel there’s a need for security cameras, a college campus probably needs them too.

It’s time to stop playing this game of Guess Who and take steps that can actually help UPD investigations whether through installing security cameras or alternatives.

There’s no excuse to continue searching in the dark without a flashlight when students are sexually assaulted far too often and campus buildings are being broken into. But hey, keep an eye out for tall white men with blonde hair and blue eyes. 

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