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Use of Surveillance and Security Cameras to Deter and Investigate Crime on University Property | Policies | CSUSM

Use of Surveillance and Security Cameras to Deter and Investigate Crime on University Property

Definition: It is the policy of California State University San Marcos to use video cameras as one method of deterring, detecting and investigating crime on campus. The primary intent of video camera use is to discourage theft and criminal activity and to enhance the likelihood of apprehending and successfully prosecuting offenders.
Authority: Authority of the University President.
Scope: This policy and related procedure applies to video cameras used for the protection of persons and property owned or leased by California State University San Marcos. Other fixed cameras installed for purposes including but not limited to the purposes of TV broadcasts, websites and other promotional uses, individual web cams used for personal use, cameras used for research, observation or other academic purpose, or temporary cameras used as part of an ongoing criminal investigation are not subject to this policy.
Responsible Division: Finance & Administrative Services
Approval Date: 08/23/2012
Originally Implemented: 12/10/2003
Signature Page/PDF: View Use of Surveillance and Security Cameras to Deter and Investigate Crime on University Property Policy


Correction made to policy on 10/11/11: Recorded data is only stored for 10 days.



This procedure sets out the framework with which Cal State San Marcos will use video cameras and recorded images to detect, deter, and investigate crime on campus.  This policy applies only to cameras installed for the sole purpose of crime detection, investigation and deterrence by the University Police.


The use of surveillance video cameras and recordings is part of an integrated security approach that includes a number of strategies, including physical presence of law enforcement, access controls and alarms. Surveillance and security cameras may be used in circumstances where campus personnel demonstrate that cameras will support crime prevention and/or aid in the apprehension of offenders.


A) Chief of Police:

  1. Authorize the use of any surveillance and security camera system
  2. Approve the installation of any surveillance and security camera system
  3. Approve the access to and reproduction or distribution of all recorded images created by cameras subject to this policy
  4. Establish procedures for data used as evidence

B) Instructional and Information Technology Services

  1. Design the camera system
  2. Approve the purchase of camera equipment
  3. Maintain the camera data and system
  4. Provide cost estimates for the camera hardware and the annual maintenance of the camera system.
  5. Provide the University Police with list of all camera locations and their corresponding recording settings annually or per request

C) Facilities Services:

  1. Approve the installation design of any camera system
  2. Provide a cost estimate for installation costs
  3. Ensure that all buildings are appropriately marked as required by this policy

D) Planning Design and Construction (PDC):

  1. Consult and confer with the Directors’ of Facilities Services, Planning, Design, and Construction, Instructional and Information Technologies, and the Chief of Police when developing camera systems for new buildings


A. General

  1. All recordings and their contents are the property of Cal State San Marcos and shall not be copied, distributed or used for any broadcast, performance or publication without the express written direction of the Chief of Police, except when such actions are in conjunction with investigations or criminal prosecutions.
  2. Recording of individual camera data will be determined on a case by case basis based on the needs of the campus at any given time.
  3. The University Police are not required to conduct continuous monitoring of any camera system. 

B. Cameras and recordings

  1. Cameras shall be located only in the physical area as indicated by the approval process.
  2. Nothing in this policy requires any camera to be recorded.  All decisions regarding recording will be made by the Chief of Police and the Dean of IITS. 
  3. Copies of recorded data will not be made unless they are relevant to the purpose of the surveillance and approved by the Chief of Police.
  4. Camera data will not be made available for civil proceedings involving third parties except where required by law.
  5. All data must be recorded in a tamper proof manner and date stamped.

C. Notice

  1. The entrances of facilities with cameras operating on the interior portions of the building will be posted indicating a video camera system is in place.   The posting should indicate, “This facility uses video cameras”.
  2. In addition to signage, employee and student handbooks shall indicate that cameras might be used in accordance with this procedure.
  3. The location and design of postings will be in accordance with campus procedure.
  4. Copies of this procedure will be made available to employees and students upon request.

D. Privacy

  1. Video cameras shall not be used in areas where students and staff could reasonably expect complete privacy unless authorized by the Chief of Police as part of a criminal investigation.  Such areas include, but are not limited to, restrooms, toilet and shower cubicles, locker rooms, changing rooms, etc.


A) To  request installation of a new surveillance and security camera system:

  1. Submit to the University Police a “Request for Video Camera Installation” form stating the following:
    • Justification for a camera system
    • The number and location of cameras
    • The source of initial and ongoing funding
    • The requirements for live feed or stored recordings

B) After the form has been reviewed and initially approved by the Chief of Police, the form will be forwarded to IITS for cost estimates and IITS approval.

C) The form should then be forwarded to Facilities Services for installation cost estimates and Facilities Services Approval.

D) The form then should be returned to the University Police for final approval and a copy should be returned to the applicant.

E) A copy of the approved form should be provided to the Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services for purposes of informing the President’s Executive Council of the approval and installation.

F) It is the responsibility of the applicant to submit work requests to Facilities Services and IITS for installation upon final approval by the University Police.

G) If an application is rejected at any step in the process, the form will be returned to the University Police and then returned to the original applicant.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to then resubmit a new application with corrections as required by the rejecting organization.