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Monitors in classroom, on campus

Peking University, May 24, 2013: The university will install surveillance system in all classrooms during the upcoming summer vacation to better control thefts, said PKU Security Department Deputy Director Xing Jingsong.


Regarding the installation of monitors in student dormitory buildings, Xing said: “We are inclined to listen to everyone’s thoughts on this matter. If there is no strong demand voiced, we will not install video surveillance in dormitory buildings for the time being.”


Three laptops were lost in Room 503, Dormitory 45B on April 18 and have not been retrieved. It was one of the latest thefts on campus.


According to journalism major Liu Siyi, one of the victims, all of them were in class when the laptops were stolen. “The last student to leave the dorm was sure that the door was locked when he left. But the door was unlocked at the scene of the crime!”


When talking about the measures after the stealing, Liu said: “My roommate first found that the laptops were stolen. He called me and then we called the police. In the afternoon, He checked the surveillance video, yet it  didn't provide any further clue.”


As China’s most prestigious university, PKU sees a massive flow of people almost daily. According to a Wenxin News survey, 143 of the 211 students surveyed said that friends around them or even themselves had once been victims of theft, which accounts for 68%. Frequent thefts in dorms, classrooms, and the Wu-si Sports Center add up to a hazard to students’ property and financial security, study, and life.


A classroom at Peking University (PKU/Beida) (File photo)


Even though the security problems exist in a large scale, students have a vague sense of security on campus, the Wenxin News reported.


“I just saw a student left with the door unlocked earlier today. And laptops were all on the desk,” observed the dorm master of Dormitory 38. She believed that students should enhance their sense of security as so many thefts happened recently. As to whether it is justifiable to install monitors, she argued: “This may raise privacy concerns, because some female students wear little after shower. But dorm is not home after all. It’s better to wear something like pajamas.”


Along with the dorm master, six out of 10 students surveyed approved of the plan to install monitors in the dormitory. According to the survey, only one out of seven students were satisfied with the security measures on campus, with most of them thought loopholes lie in the checkpoint at school gate, massive flow of people on campus, loose enforcement of dormitory access, the inactivity of Yanyuan Police Station, and weak surveillance in classrooms.


According to the Wenxin News survey, as to whether or not monitors are to be installed in dormitories, 95 students supported such measures, but the placements are to be discussed—among the choices, stairway is the ideal place. Meanwhile, 75 students opposed the video surveillance in dormitories, 55 of them being female students. Most are concerned about possible privacy violations and further inconvenience.


Concerning doubts about the efficiency and effectiveness of the Security Department and Yanyuan Police Station on controlling theft, the department head explained: There are always checkpoints at the school gate.


Du, the security guard, also confirmed: “With the busy crossroads and a subways station residing near it, the east gate is with the largest capacity, so the check is stricter. In the evening, the check is looser for there are fewer pedestrians.” However, some students did not cooperate with them, which to some extent elevated the difficulty of their work. “But now, it’s much better. If we salute, most students will show their ID cards spontaneously. Still some students on bicycle are not cooperating and will rush into the campus directly.”


In addition to security guards at school gates, police patrol on campus every day as well. Places where thefts frequently happen are equipped with plainclothes, according to the department.


With regards to the most cared about surveillance problem, the department explained: “Canteens, dormitory entrances, some carports and other public areas” are controlled by the department, while surveillance in classroom buildings are designed to check whether the equipment is working smoothly or for supervision of exams, so it is not with anti-theft equipment. But in view of the recent thefts, the university will install surveillance system in all classrooms.


Security Department Deputy Director Zhang Fuwang suggested: the first thing to do after the acknowledgment of a theft is to calm down and “try your best to protect the scene of the crime”; second is to call the police, for “cases are supposed to be dealt with by experts after all.”


Zhang believed “the enhancement of students’ sense of security is essential” as many thefts are avoidable, but the lack of security sense among students provides chances for criminals in dormitories, canteens, classrooms, and even sports field.


PKU students will pay more attention to warning signs on campus and heed their own possessions, Zhang hoped.



Written by: Chen Runxi

Edited by: Jacques

Source: The Wenxin News (JCP)

Reported by: Yan Yan and Jin Yonghui