The University is constantly improving its security measures to ensure that campus grounds remain safe from criminal elements. Last year, one of the most prominent policy changes implemented was the introduction of the ID policy, which mandated all members of the community to wear their IDs within campus at all times as a safety measure.
Asked regarding general plans that the administration has in improving security around campus, Vice Chancellor for Administration Edwin Santiago shares, “Generally, advancements in [training and technology]. Training refers to both the security guards and members of the community. Technology includes using IT, security devices, and reviewing processes.”
In an effort to strengthen security on campus, the Security and Safety Office has made technological updates to improve its services. These include the installation of new CCTVs and the unveiling of a new security car.
Last April 25, a helpdesk announcement from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration announced the installation of new and advanced CCTV units around campus. “On its first phase, 75 IP CCTV cameras will be strategically located around the campus, gates and other common areas. They will offer built-in intelligence, such as facial recognition and license plate recognition,” it stated.
Security and Safety Office Director Dr. Jocelyn Dayanan shares that the installation process is done in phases in view of the massive expense that might be incurred should the CCTV units be installed all at once. Furthermore, she explains that since technology is constantly evolving, the installation of CCTV units in phases ensures that they can be constantly updated.
Dr. Dayanan explains that Phase 1 of the installation process was carried out during the break preceding Term 3 and is now approaching completion. The starting date for Phase 2, on the other hand, has yet to be determined.
She reports that Phase 1 installations focus more on creating the main “skeleton” of the CCTV network around campus. The CCTVs are being placed in key priority locations and serve as upgrades to any older models in those areas. CCTV cameras will also be installed in other campuses, such as the newly opened campus in Bonifacio Global City.
The administration cannot disclose the total number CCTV units to be installed. However, Santiago explains, “[The CCTVs are] part of a program of using technology to enhance security. As a program, it is continuing in implementation.”
A long time coming
The plan to install new CCTV units was proposed long before the assault incident reported at Yuchengco Hall in March. Dr. Dayanan shares that discussions and proposals to update the old CCTV units on campus have been ongoing as early as June last year in order to improve general security around campus.
“The installation of CCTVs has always been in the plans as part of enhancing security through technology,” Santiago explains. “There was no single event that prompted the installation of CCTVs. They were installed because of the security value that they can generate.”
Besides facial and plate number recognition, the CCTVs also feature clearer night time visuals, zoom-in enhancement, and colored recordings, Dr. Dayanan shares. The new units provide much clearer visuals in general compared to older ones, as there was some difficulty making sense of old footage in the past.
Security vehicle unveiled
Last April, a security vehicle was also revealed to the community. The vehicle belongs to Commander Security Services Inc., a security agency contracted by DLSU. Similar to the Segway that allows security personnel to roam the corridors more swiftly, the vehicle serves to let security patrol the streets near campus. Dr. Dayanan shares, “[The security vehicle] will move around the perimeter of the area to make sure everyone is safe.”
Dr. Dayanan further explains that the car serves as a deterrent to anyone who might consider committing a crime. The vehicle is active in the morning and evening, and is used to look out for criminal elements around DLSU. It also patrols the Science and Technology Complex (STC) whenever needed.
Furthermore, the security car can aid people around campus during times of need. “If [people] witness an emergency or accident that may need transportation, [the security car] can assist,” Dr. Dayanan says.
Santiago echoes these explanations, saying, “[The patrol car] is intended to be primarily used for security operations, which includes patrolling or monitoring of the areas of DLSU and also as a back-up emergency vehicle.”
Recalling the incident at Yuchengco
On March 31 this year, the University was put on a 30-minute campus lockdown as an immediate response to a report that a masked man had assaulted a female student at Yuchengco Hall. According to witnesses, the victim had been studying in Y502 when a man with a yellow bandana tied around his face entered, turned off the lights, and began striking the victim’s head with a broom.
Despite the lockdown, the assailant was not found and, as of press time, remains at large. The incident is currently under investigation.
Santiago explains that the details of the investigation are currently confidential. “To protect the efforts being done in relation to this incident, we cannot provide details except to say that law enforcement agencies have participated in the investigation,” he maintains.
Similar incidents had occurred prior to the assault in Y502. Earlier in the evening of the assault, another female student had been a victim of a man who photographed her while inside the bathroom cubicle, threatening to post the photo online. In February, tweets from a female student also warned of a man wearing a bandana around his face, who was allegedly harassing women in Yuchengco Hall bathrooms.