Voyeurism the latest security issue at York U

Despite more than 600 closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs) and security centre to monitor them, females on York University’s Keele campus say they still don’t feel safe.

York’s biggest problem this year has been voyeurism. There have been at least six incidents of voyeurism this year on campus. One of the incidents involved a man holding a cell phone camera under a stall in the women’s washroom.

According to Joanne Rider, a spokesperson for York University, the campus is increasing their security measures.

“We have recently hired 10 additional security personnel to augment our force of 24. These new officers will allow us to increase our existing levels of patrols,” she said.

This spring all York security services staff will undergo training. They will be trained in the proper use of force, the criminal code, and other areas, she said.

York is also expecting to spend about $200,000 to upgrade lighting and has plans to install an integrated PA system in all academic and student buildings over the next three years, costing $3 to $4 million.

Campus security also has at least two trained students monitoring the CCTVs at all times.

But it’s not enough for Samantha White, a second year student who lives on campus: “I do not feel safe at night. Walking home there are not many street lights,” she said.

White’s roommate was victim to a crime.

“Last summer my current roommate was robbed. She lived in a basement apartment and the landlord had refused to properly lock the basement from the top part of the house, which was lived in by a large group of football players.

“One night the football players’ had a party when the two girls were out of town and they went into her apartment and not only stole both of their laptops, but the men had gone through her underwear drawer,” White said.

White uses the campus’ GoSafe program sometimes to get from place to place on campus but she says it has its issues.

“A lot of times it is slow and I am in a rush. Or the service has stopped running or isn’t running due to holiday and I cannot use it,” she said.

In 2011 York security reported six sexual assault incidents, three incidents of sexual harassment, two other sex offences, 19 general harassment incidents, 31 robberies or attempts, 16 common assaults and two assaults to peace officers.

Constable Wendy Drummond of the Toronto Police Service said they are working very closely with York University.

“We have done our own appeals and safety videos on YouTube, specifically on voyeurism,” she said. “We are constantly reaching out and doing a number of things together and we are always appealing to students to provide more information.”

Last year the school spent  $9.5 million on safety and security related expenses.

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