At a press conference held Tuesday morning, VCU Police Chief John Venuti outlined the steps his department is taking, along with the help of partnering agencies in the area, to ensure the safety of students attending the university.
Stressing the point that his department can't do the job by themselves, he enlisted the help of the Richmond Police Department and the Virginia State Police as a visible force on campus.
Virginia Commonwealth University is located in downtown Richmond, with satellite campus's within the general area of the main campus buildings. Student dormitories are also spread around the area.
The safety concerns being voiced by authorities may have a lot to do with the number of armed robberies and assaults in the area recently. Over the past weekend, police responded to several shooting incidents where a total of six people were shot.
Chief Denuti pointed out something many people take for granted, the perception of safety, saying if people feel safe, then his department is doing a good job. Two recent polls, one by the university and an independent survey by a local television station showed that most returning students do feel safe on campus.
In addition to the increased protection offered by partnering agencies, students should be aware of the safety features in place throughout the VCU campus. Besides the 90 sworn officers and 200 additional security personnel on duty 24-hours a day, students, staff and parents can receive emails, text messages and desktop alerts on the university's wired and wireless networks.
Students can also get instant help through the use of one of 350 yellow emergency telephones, located throughout the campus. The telephones can also connect students to VCU’s RamSafe, which provides an escort to anyone leaving a meeting or class late at night.
Something new has been added to VCU's safety arsenal this year, and that is their partnership[ with LiveSafe, a mobile app designed to let students exchange crime information directly with the Richmond Police Department. This added mobile app is sure to help in a student's perception of safety on campus.