Posted: January 5th, 2023
PROJECT 1, THE PERSUASIVE MEMO PROPOSAL
Project 1, The Persuasive Memo Proposal
TO: Committee of Student Life
FROM: [Student Name]
DATE: September 5, 2021
SUBJECT: Proposal to Install Gun and Gunshot Detectors in Campus Premises
This proposal introduces the need to improve student safety and security in Penn State University by installing gun and gunshot detectors alongside the existing closed-circuit televisions. Currently, Penn State University is still considered the university in Pennsylvania with the highest rate of violent crime at 1.23 violent crimes per 1,000 students (Kaplan, 2019). Despite being the largest university in the state of Pennsylvania, its poor security rating may be discouraging minority and international students from applying for admission into the college, making it loose a valuable revenue stream and damaging its reputation as a university of choice. This memo requests your consideration of installing gun and gunshot detectors alongside the existing CCTV network to enhance the security confidence of students, faculty and staff, and improve the response from law enforcement agencies when gun-related incidences happen.
Security Status and Perceptions in American Universities
American universities are prone to gun related violence, which worries university administrators, students, faculty, employees, law enforcement agencies and policymakers. Potnis, Demissie, and Deosthali (2017) revealed that academic campuses were experiencing a steady rise of crime incidents, including shooting, thefts, and public browns, despite the stringent rules and penalties.
However, incidences such as the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 and the Virginia Tech state university shooting in 2007 prompted many universities to adopt CCTV systems as a security measure in the campuses (Lauer and Meehan 2019). Since then, security measures in universities have been enhanced, but unfortunately, have not managed to stem criminal activities in institutions of higher learning in the country. Biastro, Larwin, and Carano (2017) noted that sexual violence crimes has increased steadily in universities despite the enactment of laws regulating the carrying of concealed weapons the college premises. This indicates that legislative measure had failed. The security problem is serious because legalising guns in college and university campuses has been considered. However, this approach has elicited a debated between merits and merits of carrying guns as security weapons for personal safety and the undesirable academic atmosphere they would create (Shepperd, et al. 2018).
Benefits and limitations of Closed Circuit Television Networks and Card Access Systems
Card access systems can deter the entry of unauthorized persons into buildings and rooms. Their effectiveness is premised on the possession of card key to authorized people only. Card keys replace keys and are issues to specific people with authority to access restricted areas. In universities, card key are used by faculty to access their offices and students to enter their halls of residence and rooms. However, card keys have a critical limitation, because they can be sold, lost or stolen, which undermines their effectiveness as a security measure (Patil et al. 2020). Similarly, CCTV cameras monitor movement and behavior of people, enabling the detection of criminal activities and their perpetrators (Lauer and Meehan 2019. However, they require human to detect the perilous situations, which undermines their ability to cause immediate action when not being analyzed by people (Kwon, Sharma, and Park. 2019).
Current security installations at Penn State University
Penn State University hosts over 76,000 students, 9% of whom are international students. To secure them, along with faculty and staff, the university has a closed circuit television network in its facilities to help monitor security and safety threats. This security system was installed in 2013 in the common buildings and halls of residence to augment those installed in the administrative buildings and offices (The Pennsylvania State University 2021). This system aimed at monitoring high risk areas with high human traffic, such as common service desks, exit stairways, entrance lobbies in ground floors, and elevators. Before this security additional measure, the university had already installed a card access and door alarm system in the resident hall entrances to safeguard students by restricting entry of and alerting the entry of unauthorized persons. This system has been integrated with the video surveillance system to improve security and safety surveillance and response. Unfortunately, gun-related violence continues to bedevil the university because the gun detection system at the campus does not eliminate totally the entry of guns into the campus or detect their presence and use autonomously.
Gun and gunshot detectors present a feasible solution for enhancing safety and security of people at Penn State University. The proposed solution can be integrated with the extant closed-circuit television network using artificial intelligence technologies. Such an integrated system would not only detect concealed guns carried by people into the campus premises and buildings, but would also detect gunshots and the persons that are involved. In this regard, such an integrated solution has the advantage of detecting and alerting on gun-related violence speedily, eliciting speedy responses and saving of lives. This solution would be incorporated into the existing security system in several ways. Firstly, gun detector would be installed alongside the CCTV cameras. While CCTVs enable the monitoring of people and their behavior, they cannot detect hidden guns. The gun detection system can detect hidden guns while the video cameras can help identify the gun carriers. Secondly, the gunshot detector would also be installed in several locations in the campus and integrated to the CCTV system. This would combine visual and sound, while using artificial technology to determine the location and proximity of gunshots autonomously, thus enabling speedier responses and saving lives.
As a current international student undertaking an undergraduate program majoring in in supply chain management, I am concerned about the reputation of safety levels in American universities. I am one of the students under a scholarship from Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that sends almost 70 students to Penn State University annually and many others to state universities across the United States. I often worry about my safety and security related to gun violence as we do not have gun freedom in my home country. I have also encountered similar concerns among my colleagues, especially those from minority communities and international students. The low security rating at this university compared to other universities is worrisome to many of us and can be a significant factor when selecting the international university for an undergraduate program. Any improvements in safety and security precautions and measures at the n Stat University can enhance my and our confidence in higher education campus.
My Work Plan
|September 10||Submitting the project proposal|
|September 13-15||Meeting other students to discuss security problems and solutions|
|September 17||Meeting the Committee of Student Life to discuss proposal|
|September 20||Meeting technology providers to discuss installation and integration with existing system|
|September 21||Reviewing options and developing an implementation plan|
|September 24||Drafting progress report|
|September 27||Submitting progress report|
|September 28-October 12||Typing and editing report|
|October 13||Submitting final report|
Penn State University is a renowned institution of higher education whose reputation is threatened by its low safety and security rating. Although several security measures, such as CCTVs and card keys, have been implemented, gun-related crimes remain a significant and worrisome threat in the university facilities. Innovative technologies based on artificial technologies that can detect guns and gunshots and integrated into the existing security system may help deter the gun-related vices and enhance the safety and security perceptions among the critical stakeholders.
Biastro, Leslie A., Karen H. Larwin, and Marla E. Carano. “Arming the academy: How carry-on-campus impact incidence of reported sexual assault crimes.” Research in Higher Education Journal 32: 1-12.
Kaplan, D. 2019. “PSU ranked #1 university in PA for most violent crimes.” Nexstar Media Inc. https://www.wearecentralpa.com/news/psu-ranked-1-university-in-pa-for-most-violent-crimes/
Kwon, Byoung-Wook, Pradip Kumar Sharma, and Jong-Hyuk Park. 2019. “CCTV-Based Multi-Factor Authentication System.” Journal of Information Processing Systems 15, no. 4: 904-919. https://doi.org/10.3745/JIPS.03.0127.
Lauer, Thomas W., and Albert J. Meehan. 2019. “Closed circuit television systems on university campuses: Unexamined implications for the expectation of privacy and academic freedom.” International Journal of Law and Public Administration 2, no. 2:1-9. https://doi.org/10.11114/ijlpa.v2i2.4311.
Patil, Karthik A., Niteen Vittalkar, Pavan Hiremath, and Manoj A. Murthy. “Smart door locking system using IoT.” International Research Journal of Engineering and Technolology 7, no. 5 (2020): 3090-3094.
Potnis, Devendra, Dawit Demissie, and Kanchan Deosthali. 2017. “Students’ intention to adopt Internet-based personal safety wearable devices: Extending UTAUT with trusting belief.” First Monday 32, no. 9: 1-18. https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i9.7808.
Shepperd, James A., Joy E. Losee, Gabrielle C. Pogge, Nikolette P. Lipsey, Liz Redford, and Marie Crandall. 2018. “The anticipated consequences of legalizing guns on college campuses.” Journal of Threat Assessment and Management 5, no. 1: 21-34. https://doi.org/10.1037/tam0000097.
The Pennsylvania State University 2021. “official website. ” https://admissions.psu.edu/apply/statistics/.
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