The Dept. of Public Safety, along with Student Affairs, plans to implement new security measures related to entering the University Park Campus and residential halls, effective the beginning of the 2013 spring semester.
Though the Halloween shooting on campus that left four people injured sped up the implementation of these new measures, the departments had previously considered revising their security system. The university also implemented some new security measures in the week following the shooting.
Beginning in the spring semester, students living in residential housing will be able to scan with their fingerprint into all other on-campus housing without using a guest pass.
The campus will also be closed from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and, of the 27 openings on campus only, eight of them will be accessible. Those eight entrances will have checkpoints that require students and faculty to present ID to security ambassadors to enter campus.
[Correction: A previous version of this post said that campus will be closed from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. ]
There will be two checkpoints at the entrance on Jefferson Boulevard and Trousdale Parkway, two at the end of Trousdale Parkway and Exposition Boulevard, two on Figueroa Street and one at the Vermont Avenue entrance. Fencing will be constructed at the openings on Jefferson and Exposition boulevards. Construction for these temporary fences is slated to start next week and be fully in place by early January.
The new system will require an on-campus resident to register their guests after 9 p.m. at visitor.usc.edu and have each guest present a government-issued ID when entering campus. The license plate for every vehicle entering campus will also be read and checked against a database of stolen cars.
DPS Chief Capt. Carey Drayton said he believes students will react positively to these new security checkpoints, while faculty and staff will have the largest adjustment period.
“I don’t think students will have a problem. [The security will be] like going to Gate 28 for football games. That’s just how you go to the game,” Drayton said. “However, faculty and staff aren’t used to having to show their ID’s to get on campus. That’s just going to be a different process for them.”
DPS plans to add 38 security cameras internally on campus, in addition to the 72 cameras already installed around the perimeter of campus.
Drayton emphasized that adjustments to the security measures will be made as needed.
The already-implemented measures to tight campus security after the Halloween shooting appear to have reduced thefts on campus for the time being. DPS has seen a decrease in theft in the month that the stricter security policies have been in place.
“Since implementing the fingerprint system, only one incident of property theft has occurred in three weeks,” Drayton said. “Before there used to be 25 to 30 incidents in that same three-week span.”
Drayton also emphasized that the security measures were not trying to serve as an additional hassle to students, but meant to minimize that threats from the outside.
“We are creating a process where it looks like and feels like people not affiliated with the school are not welcome,” Drayton said. “We are trying to balance inconvenience and the safety issues and this is the most effective way we can go about doing it.”
Vice President of Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson views the new measures as primarily beneficial to the university community.
“We’re doing this because we really care about the security and safety of students, faculty, and staff,” Jackson said.
The university officials stressed that ties to the community and local elementary schools will be maintained despite the new policies. Exceptions will be made for these organizations, and they can receive special guest passes to enter campus for their events.
“We will still be a welcoming place. That’s the goal,” Jackson said.