Thursday, May 8, 2014
Virginia Commonwealth University is the first public institution of higher education in Virginia to be certified as a crime prevention campus.
VCU Police Chief John Venuti accepted the designation this morning from the Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board (CJSB) in Richmond. VCU and the University of Richmond were the first colleges in the state to earn the designation.
Venuti told the CJSB that VCU’s mission is not only to keep students safe, but to instill good safety habits for the rest of their lives. “There really is no better way to do that than with crime prevention,” Venuti said.
As part of the certification process, an agency must detail crime prevention goals, programs, effectiveness and accomplishments.
A certified crime prevention campus is required to have 11 core safety elements. Those include having a certified crime prevention specialist on staff, maintaining mutual aid agreements with other agencies, continuing compliance with the federal Jeanne Clery Act, having a crisis management plan in place and distributing campus safety information.
The VCU Police Department has extensive community policing initiatives. Students and staff can exchange basic bike locks for U-locks, register their computers and bikes in case of theft and download the LiveSafe smart phone application for a mobile connection to VCU Police. All have been useful and popular services within the university community.
VCU Police has active partnerships with the Richmond Police Department, Virginia State Police and many other local agencies.
The CJSB Chairman, Stafford County Sheriff Charles Jett, praised VCU and the University of Richmond, saying both have “stellar reputations in the law enforcement community.” It was also noted by the board that the schools had “exceeded program requirements.”
In a spring 2014 perception of safety survey by VCU, 95 percent of students, faculty and staff reported that they feel “safe” or “very safe” on VCU’s Monroe Park Campus and at the VCU Medical Center. In the 2013-2014 academic year, VCU has seen a 17 percent drop in robberies at its two campuses compared to the previous academic year.
Another highlight for the department has been the success of updated security cameras on both campuses. Since August 2013, the system has yielded 129 “wins.” Wins include arrests, incidents captured on video, photos of suspects and the ability to confirm reported crimes.
VCU will retain the crime prevention campus certification for three years, at which point the police department will be due for reassessment.
About VCU and VCU Medical Center
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.
About VCU Police
The VCU Police Department is a campus police force of 92 sworn, trained and certified officers and is the largest campus police force in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The department works 24/7 to ensure a safe learning, living and working environment for the students, faculty and staff of Virginia Commonwealth University.