Body wants her bike back, security questions raised across campuses

Olie Body is missing her bike

Second-year Communications student Olie Body had her locked bike stolen from the bike racks outside the Massey Wellington library last month and is appalled at the way the situation was handled.

Body’s bicycle was stolen between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on September 12 while she attended a life drawing class on campus.

The incident was reported to both campus security and the police within an hour of Body realising her bike was missing but various issues have meant that neither Body nor the police have viewed any security footage of the theft.

In an email obtained by Massive, Operations Manager Janet Flint explained why the security footage was not available, writing:

“This camera, along with all others on campus went off line on the night of September 9 due to a power cut that hit a good part of Wellington City. Whilst the power came back on something happened to the cameras network system that affected camera and network connectivity.

“I can confirm that there is no camera footage of this theft”.

Body was informed that although the incident was recorded, the system failure meant that any footage catching the potential thief could not be accessed.

She is disappointed at the lack of effort made by Facilities Management and believes “the fact that the cameras were off and the security footage could not be attained is a security issue”.

Auckland Massey student Lee Maxlow encountered similar problems when he tried to follow up after his parked car was hit on the Albany campus.

Despite the fact that there are signs saying ‘CCTV coverage of this area’ near where he was parked, Maxlow was told by campus security that there is nothing they could do unless he contacted the police.

This is not the first time that campus security has come under fire.

In April this year, the Wellington campus experienced a vandalism spree in which multiple staff and students had their cars keyed while parked near the Design Block and Museum.

Student Hamish Baxter was set back $4000 to repaint his car after he discovered his car was targeted during the crime spree.

MUSA President Nikita Skipper told Massive that she was unaware of any security issues on the Manawatū campus, being unable to remember any students raising concerns in 2016.

In 2015, some concerns were raised by students over the adequacy of warnings from Massey University over the activities of a stalker on campus.

Massey University communications director James Gardiner spoke to Massive about the Wellington incident and other security issues occurring on other campuses, saying:

“It is unfortunate that an IT problem unexpectedly took out the Wellington security cameras for a period. In this instance the cameras we have in place would probably not have captured the theft that occurred, although we may well have seen someone coming or going from the area and we would have been more than happy to hand that footage over to the police.

“Clearly if someone is determined enough to presumably carry equipment onto campus that enables them to cut through a bike lock, it is going to be difficult to prevent. We are upgrading our security cameras internally and externally each year as budget allows.

“In terms of the Auckland campus incident, our security staff do not provide access to security video footage to members of the public, including students and staff, on demand.

“The process is as was outlined to the student. We will gladly share security footage with the police to enable them to solve a crime or as evidence in a prosecution. In this case there was no footage showing the hit and run on the vehicle and we advised the student of that.”

Since the theft occurred, Body has been forced to get up an hour earlier every day in order to walk and arrive at class on time and says she could spend those two hours “productively towards my university work”.

Body hopes that the entire process is improved before something worse occurs, saying:

“This is only a bike, but it could have been much worse. The cameras need to be 100 per cent operational; it’s a huge security risk. And, footage, no matter the quality, needs to be given to police. It’s not good enough.”


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