Shepherd University does have security cameras in a number of locations used to monitor and prevent future criminal incidents. However, there is one area on campus that has no security cameras at all.
On April 6 at approximately 2 a.m., there was a robbery near the underpass that connects west campus to east campus. A male student had just cleared the underpass and was attacked from behind, knocked down and had his money stolen from him. The perpetrator was a caucasian male about six feet tall, medium build, with short brown hair. Shepherd University police state that the victim was not intoxicated.
There were and still are no security cameras at all in the vicinity of the underpass or inside. “Security cameras don’t prevent crimes, but they help solve crimes,” said Shepherd University Police Chief John McAvoy.
Even if a security camera will not prevent a robbery itself, it could prevent the same perpetrator from committing a robbery later down the road by giving the police information on finding him and thereby preventing the same crime. This would prevent the same perpetrator from committing five more crimes like it by catching him the first time.
Cheyanne MacDonald, a student at Shepherd said, “I hate walking around Shepherd at night. I always try to call someone to talk with just in case because it’s always so dark.”
She said she feels uncomfortable walking through the underpass or near that area at night. When asked if a security camera there would make her feel more comfortable to walk through the underpass she said, “Yes, definitely!”
The underpass was constructed a couple years ago for students to cross Route 480 back and forth which separates west campus from east campus. There were many near-fatal accidents on this road years ago, and because of these accidents, the underpass was built to allow students to safely cross under Route 480.
McAvoy was clear that the safety of the students is of utmost concern and wants students to continue using the underpass and be safe.
Shepherd University police have a total of nine full-time, sworn officers and five part-time officers.
On April 9, The Corporation of Shepherdstown began seeking proposals for three security cameras to be used for law enforcement purposes. Both Shepherdstown and Shepherd University police have a close working relationship, according to McAvoy.