Police to install new camera system in lots

TCU Police will soon be installing a new camera system in some parking lots to help combat crime on campus, a TCU Police sergeant said.In several cases this semester, police have been unable to use security footage from the existing cameras to identify suspects.

Saturday morning, the cameras were unable to help police when freshman Brownie Porterfield’s blue Chevy Blazer was broken into in the freshman parking lot, said TCU Police Sgt. Kelly Ham.

Surveillance cameras captured the incident, but TCU Police were unable to determine the identity of the suspects or the license plate number from the film.

“This is frustrating,” Ham said. “We’ve got video of the parking lots to help us catch the burglars. What has happened is sometimes they come in at certain angles, and we’re not able to get the license plate number.”

To counteract these limitations, TCU Police are installing additional equipment during Spring Break.

TCU Police will install several cameras to monitor the license plates of cars entering parking lots around the coliseum and football stadium, where the majority of burglaries occur, Ham said.

When freshmen Lizzie Dow and Paige Bryant parked in the freshman parking lot Saturday morning, they noticed a white Dodge Nitro parked next to Porterfield’s vehicle.

One of the three men in the Nitro is suspected to have broken the driver’s-side windows of Porterfield’s vehicle, which was parked on the east edge of the lot.

“The guy in the passenger seat was out of the car,” said Dow, a business major. “He was standing really close to the window of the Blazer. They drove off maybe 10 seconds later.”

Bryant, an entrepreneurial management major, called the TCU Police Department when she and Dow realized the windows were broken.

Although TCU Police responded to Bryant’s call in less than a minute, the suspected burglars had already left the scene, said Ham.

“Video shows he was in the target vehicle 10 seconds,” Ham said. “In that 10 seconds time, he does $300 damage to the car to steal $485 worth of merchandise.”

A radar detector, an air purifier, a GPS system holder and a flashlight were stolen from the vehicle, said Porterfield, a premajor.

Ham said he believes the new cameras will have a big impact on crime on campus.

“If you run a red light, it takes a picture of your license plate,” Ham said. “Basically, that’s what we’re going to do. They’re all time-sequenced, so then I can go back to these videos and say, ‘OK, here are the burglars pulling into the lot. There’s the license plate number that matches the car.’ Then I know who to go arrest.